FIRST and BAE Systems Partner to Bolster the STEM Workforce Pipeline and Inspire the Next Generation of Innovators

Advanced Defense Technology Company Becomes FIRST Strategic Partner, Expanding its 25-Year Support of the Global Nonprofit

MANCHESTER, N.H., December 7, 2020 - FIRST®, a robotics community that prepares young people for the future, today announced BAE Systems as a strategic partner. The international defense, aerospace and security company, which has supported FIRST since 1995, is recognized as providing the highest level of sponsorship through cumulative and overarching support of the youth-serving nonprofit organization.

“We are proud to recognize BAE Systems, one of our longest standing partners. For over 25 years, BAE Systems has donated millions of dollars to support FIRST teams, programs, and events, encouraged hundreds of their employees across the country to volunteer thousands of hours, provided scholarships to FIRST students, hired hundreds of FIRST Alumni and much more,” said Larry Cohen, president at FIRST. “We are grateful for the company’s ongoing and meaningful contributions, and with so much uncertainty for the school year, we are fortunate to have the support of BAE Systems to ensure that STEM remains a priority and is accessible for students of all ages and backgrounds.”

BAE Systems was an early supporter of FIRST, beginning its history of sponsorship soon after the organization’s flagship FIRST® Robotics Competition launched. During this time, the company has donated more than $9 million to FIRST teams and events, given thousands of hours through employee volunteerism, granted $40,000 in scholarships to FIRST students each year, and directly sponsors hundreds of FIRST teams across the United States.

“The impact of FIRST extends far beyond building robots,” said Tom Arseneault, president and chief executive officer at BAE Systems, Inc. “It inspires students through collaboration, critical thinking and creativity. That is why BAE Systems is a proud partner of FIRST, and why our employees are strong supporters of the students who will carry these leadership experiences with them as they become the future workforce.”

BAE Systems joins more than 20 other companies (including one federal agency) that have achieved the top tier level for sponsorship of FIRST. Together, these strategic partners provide significant funding, mentorship, volunteerism, equipment, and more to enhance the reach and overall impact of FIRST.

For more information about FIRST programs and sponsorship opportunities, please contact


About FIRST®
FIRST® is a robotics community that prepares young people for the future through a suite of inclusive, team-based robotics programs for ages 4-18 (PreK-12) that can be facilitated in school or in structured afterschool programs. An international not-for-profit organization founded by accomplished inventor Dean Kamen in 1989, FIRST has a proven impact on STEM learning, interest, and skill-building well beyond high school. Boosted by a global support system of mentors, coaches, volunteers, alumni, and sponsors that include over 200 of the Fortune 500 companies, teams operate under a signature set of FIRST Core Values to conduct research, fundraise, design, and build robots, then compete and celebrate at local, regional, and international events. High school students are eligible for more than $80 million in college scholarships. Learn more at