Ford Invests in Strategic Partnership with FIRST to Increase Access to STEM Learning for All Students, Inspire Young Innovators to Help Transform Transportation

Automaker Expands Decades-long Support of the Nonprofit’s PreK-12 Robotics Programs as it Reshapes the Auto Industry with Autonomous Vehicles, Robotics and Other Innovations

MANCHESTER, N.H., DEARBORN, MICH., March 10, 2020 – Ford Motor Company is expanding more than two decades of support of FIRST®, a robotics community that prepares young people for the future, by becoming a FIRST Strategic Partner to encourage STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) learning for students of all ages as the company leads a disruption of the auto industry with new transportation solutions such as autonomous vehicles.

The partnership marks the highest level of sponsorship through cumulative and overarching support of the world’s leading youth-serving nonprofit advancing STEM education outcomes and the development of life skills such as self-confidence, teamwork, communication, and leadership.

FIRST is proud to recognize Ford Motor Company as a Strategic Partner. Ford’s dedication and involvement has spanned more than 20 years, and tens of thousands of students have been mentored by passionate Ford employees,” said Larry Cohen, president of FIRST. “FIRST participants are 2-3 times more likely to have gains in STEM career interest, and we know that sparking this interest is critical for closing the skills gap of the current STEM workforce. Together with Ford, we will continue to inspire more students to pursue STEM, and provide role models, mentorship, and pathways to successful and productive lives.”

Ford’s increased strategic investment comes as the company continues to build high-tech skills globally and develops advanced technologies such as autonomous vehicles that promise to reshape the world’s transportation systems. Ford will leverage this growing presence to encourage even more mentorship and volunteering from their employee base of 191,000 people worldwide as it continues hiring experts with advanced STEM skills to fuel the industry’s most significant transformation since Henry Ford put the world on wheels more than a century ago.

“Inspiring next-generation innovators has never been more important in a world where technology is transforming so many parts of our lives so quickly, and only is speeding up,” said Ken Washington, Chief Technology Officer, Ford Motor Company. “This is why Ford is not waiting for change to happen, but instead leading a number of disruptions such as autonomous vehicles that could work with robots for more efficient e-commerce deliveries that will usher in a new era of transportation. To create this future, we are counting on a talented workforce of the type that FIRST’s efforts are helping us to secure.”

During the current 2019-2020 season, Ford provided direct support for more than 200 teams across all FIRST programs, and over 500 Ford employees volunteered their time as mentors, impacting more than 60,000 students. Ford developed and sponsors the FIRST® Robotics Competition Autonomous Award and sponsors several FIRST Robotics Competition Regional and District events, as well as the FIRST Championship.

Using robotics competitions as the vehicle to ignite interest and self-motivation in students, FIRST helps students ages 4 through 18 channel their raw curiosity to think critically and seek ways to improve the world around them. Through their experience in FIRST, students go on to find meaningful, fulfilling careers through a variety of paths. FIRST alumni are ready to hire and stand out to potential employers from a multitude of fields.

Ford is one of more than 20 other companies (including one federal agency) to achieve 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

About Ford Motor Company
Ford Motor Company is a global company based in Dearborn, Michigan. The company designs, manufactures, markets and services a full line of Ford cars, trucks, SUVs, electrified vehicles and Lincoln luxury vehicles, provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company and is pursuing leadership positions in electrification, autonomous vehicles and mobility solutions. Ford employs approximately 191,000 people worldwide. For more information regarding Ford, its products and Ford Motor Credit Company, please visit