The Nevada Department of Education on Dec. 22 announced a $4 million investment of American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief funds to expand access to STEM and robotics programs across the state.
The funds will be doled out in partnership with the nonprofit FIRST Nevada, according to a Nevada Department of Education press release.
“Providing access for our students to emerging technologies and STEM programs is essential as we recover from COVID-19 and redefine education in Nevada,” Jhone Ebert, State Superintendent of Public Instruction, said in a statement. “We are excited and grateful to have FIRST Nevada as a forward-thinking partner in moving us closer to our goal of ensuring each and every Nevada student is future-ready and globally prepared.”The mission of FIRST Nevada is to inspire youth to become science and technology leaders, by engaging them in mentor-based programs that build science, engineering and technology skills, inspire innovation, and foster well-rounded life capabilities including self-confidence, communication and leadership.“Inspiring Nevada’s young people to develop technology-based skills and interests will ensure not only success for our next generation, but economic vitality for the future of our State,” Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak said in a statement.
FIRST Nevada offers a suite of team-based PreK-12 robotics programs, including FIRST LEGO League, FIRST Tech Challenge, and FIRST Robotics Competition. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, FIRST Nevada programs reached half of Nevada’s school districts and over 3,000 Nevada students and teachers, including 270 robotics teams across the state.
“FIRST Nevada is thrilled and honored to be selected by the Nevada Department of Education as a recipient of this impactful investment to provide much needed resources to our schools and teachers while ensuring equitable access for Nevada’s youth,” Angela Quick, FIRST Nevada Executive Director, said in a statement. “We are truly grateful for this partnership and our aligned vision to provide accessibility to these exciting hands-on robotics programs that will inspire the next generation of science and technology leaders.”
The funding will help support robotics team retention post-pandemic and enable FIRST Nevada to increase the number of robotics teams statewide, according to the press release.
Nevada school leaders are encouraged to reach out to Quick at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more information about starting a robotics program at their school.