A Team Offering High Tech Fun and Skills for the Future


How many fun team sports will help young students land a high paying job? Your answer may include some professional sports, but high school players who reach the pros are almost as rare as lottery winners! 

Another team sport underway at schools across the nation promises fun and long term career potential for girls and boys alike.

It is a growing initiative backed by some of the biggest names in business to get youngsters’ attention with innovative, after-school projects.  Corporations including Intel and General Motors are using high-tech team sports to recruit the next generation of engineers, innovators and scientists.

Ask any kid what they want to be when they grow up and you’ll get an almost infinite number of answers. But ask a parent what they want their child to be when they grow up and, these days, you may get one predominant answer – employed!  And while unemployment statistics vary, many large companies are having difficulty filling high paying positions that require candidates with a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) based education.

This is why the FIRST® Robotics Competition is more than just an exciting extra-curricular activity and fiercely competitive team sport. It is actually the beginning of a student’s recruitment connection with the companies who both provide sponsorship and are actively looking to recruit the innovators, scientists and engineers of tomorrow.

Students have fun and learn valuable skills

Students have fun and learn valuable skills

The FIRST® Robotics Competition was founded in 1992 by Dean Kamen, inventor of the self-balancing, two-wheeled personal transporter known as the “Segway”, FIRST®.  The competition attracts hundreds of thousands of students each year as well as hundreds of major corporations like Google, Microsoft, Johnson and Johnson, Underwriter’s Laboratories and General Motors who provide hundreds of thousands of dollars in sponsorship and support.

This year, General Motors will sponsor more than 70 teams in the FIRST® Robotics Competition and provide additional sponsorship and event support to over 600 teams in other programs such as the FIRST® LEGO League and the FIRST® Tech Challenge.

The FIRST Championship games for 2014 will be held at America’s Center Convention Complex in St. Louis April 23-26, 2014. The Gateway City also hosted the robotics competition in 2011, 2012 and 2013 with thousands of people attending to see the robots and students in action!


Students have an opportunity to learn about all kinds of technology at competition exhibits

To learn more about the teams, how to get involved and the upcoming season go to  http://www.usfirst.org/


Small Business Tip: High-Tech Help Gets Farmer International Attention!

One mid-west farm has several high-tech communications features at work today getting world-wide attention!  You see, Verizon Wireless is sponsoring Benton Farms’ quest to offer the world’s largest corn maze in Guinness Book of World Record’s.

 You can see a familiar face and slogan in the 54.428 acre maze open until November 1, 2009 at Benson Farms in Denton, Nebraska. The sponsorship is not the only high-tech communications link at the farm; the Benson family uses Twitter, text messages and other social media to let visitors to the farm know about special events and activities. You can visit the farm website at http://www.bensonfarms.com to sign up for updates.


Located a short drive west of Lincoln, Nebraska, the record-setting corn maze is a great place to get some fresh air, have some fun and enjoy a piece of the “good life.”  The huge maze holds 14.88 miles of trails in four phases ranging from easy to moderately difficult.  The easiest phase will require 10 to 20 minutes to navigate.  The most difficult phase will require 45 to 120 minutes to navigate.  One phase of the maze gets haunted after dark on Friday and Saturday nights beginning October 9th.

 Sponsorship of the maze is just one way Verizon is reaching out to small firms.  There are Verizon free Wi-Fi hot spot access at more than 14,000 locations nationwide, available to every Verizon business broadband customer.  Free Verizon Wi-Fi hot spot locations include hotels, airports, restaurants, coffee shops, retailers, convention centers and public locations across the U.S. For a complete list, visit http://www.verizon.net/hotspots.

Please follow me on Twitter to learn more about small business trends and events to give you a competitive edge in business at http://twitter.com/danitablackwood   To learn more about vital technology issues impacting your enterprise; head to http://www.sbtv.com/Technology