FIRST, Automation Federation and the International Society of Automation Announce Strategic Allianc

FIRST News Release

FIRST®, Automation Federation and the International Society of Automation Announce Strategic Alliance to Inspire Next Generation of Engineering and Automation Professionals

National Pilot Program Inspires AF / ISA Professionals to Lend Their Services as FIRST Coaches, Mentors, Volunteers

- FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), a not-for-profit organization founded by inventor Dean Kamen to inspire young people’s interest and participation in science and technology, the Automation Federation (AF) and the International Society of Automation (ISA) today announced a global strategic alliance and a U.S.-based pilot program to promote the importance of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) in K-12 education. FIRST, the Automation Federation and ISA will pool and mobilize their joint resources to collaborate and promote K-12 STEM education through after-school participation in FIRST robotics programs.

Studies have shown that a shortage in the number of people educated in math and science has created a lack of qualified workers to fill positions in automation and technology that is vital to the future of manufacturing. Currently, there are jobs at U.S. high-tech manufacturing companies that are going unfilled because companies can’t find people with the necessary skills. In addition, the failure to develop math and science skills has resulted in the U.S. falling behind to other countries such as China and India.

"The importance of pairing our students with an engaged and accomplished group of engineering and automation professionals cannot be underestimated," said Dean Kamen, FIRST founder and CEO of DEKA Research & Development. "Our students will get the opportunity to work with professionals whose work reflects the typical challenges and creative rigor that is at the heart of our program. I applaud the efforts of the Automation Federation and the ISA to tap the resources of our FIRST students as a means of raising awareness of STEM and helping us to remain competitive in the fields of automation and technology."

AF and ISA members, staff and volunteers will be matched to area FIRST leadership, partners and events on a region by region basis, to encourage members of the AF community to engage with, volunteer for, as well as advocate and support FIRST programs. The goal of the pilot program will be to increase the number of young people and numbers of teams and volunteers activity participating in all robotics initiatives across all programs at FIRST.

"The Automation Federation takes great pride in forming a Strategic Alliance with FIRST," said Jerry Cockrell, Automation Federation Chair. "Our two organizations share a common goal to increase the awareness of automation and engineering education to young people through the promotion of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.  Through this Alliance, we hope to build the Next Generation of Automation Professionals."

"ISA is pleased to join the Automation Federation and FIRST in our combined effort to excite young people from K through 12 about the power they have to enrich their own lives and to make a difference in the future of our world through Science, Technology, Engineering and Math," Nelson Ninin, ISA President "Our ISA members are stepping forward to play an important role in promoting the efforts of FIRST."

FIRST will assist the AF and ISA members and affiliates across the country with resources such as instructional materials, guidelines for starting robotics teams, as well as marketing support. AF and ISA staff, members and volunteers across the nation will be matched to FIRST affiliate and operational partners and will support events in their geographic areas to collectively build local collaboration. With help from FIRST, an Earned Recognition program will be established for AF community members participating in FIRST robotics.

"This strategic alignment elevates our students for continuing their success in automation technology," said Jon Dudas, FIRST President. "There a tremendous fit between our respective organizations. FIRST students and the automation professionals at AF / ISA speak a common language. This collective intelligence will no doubt play a key role in improving our competitive standing with respect to STEM in general and automation technology in particular."

About the Automation Federation

The Automation Federation is a global umbrella organization under which member associations and societies engaged in manufacturing and process automation activities can work more effectively to fulfill their missions, advance the science and engineering of automation technologies and applications and develop the workforce needed to capitalize on the benefits of automation. The Automation Federation is working to become the "Voice of Automation." For more information about the Automation Federation, visit

About ISA

Founded in 1945, the International Society of Automation ( is a leading, global, nonprofit organization that is setting the standard for automation by helping over 30,000 worldwide members and other professionals solve difficult technical problems, while enhancing their leadership and personal career capabilities. Based in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, ISA develops standards; certifies industry professionals; provides education and training; publishes books and technical articles; and hosts conferences and exhibitions for automation professionals. ISA is the founding sponsor of the Automation Federation (

About FIRST®

Accomplished inventor Dean Kamen founded FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) in 1989 to inspire an appreciation of science and technology in young people. Based in Manchester, N.H., FIRST designs accessible, innovative programs to build self-confidence, knowledge, and life skills while motivating young people to pursue opportunities in science, technology, and engineering. With support from three out of every five Fortune 500 companies and $14 million in college scholarships, the not-for-profit organization hosts the FIRST® Robotics Competition (FRC® ) and FIRST® Tech Challenge (FTC®) for high-school students, FIRST® LEGO® League (FLL® ) for 9 to 14-year-olds, (9 to 16-year-olds outside the U.S. and Canada) and Junior FIRST® LEGO® League (Jr.FLLT) for 6 to 9-year-olds. Gracious ProfessionalismT is a way of doing things that encourages high-quality work, emphasizes the value of others, and respects individuals and the community. To learn more about FIRST, go to


Media Contacts:

Dennis Garrigan   
Automation Federation Logo For Automation Federation:
Michael Marlowe
ISA Logo  For ISA:
Becky Schneider