Feb 19, 2010 at 02:38 PM
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J.C. Penney Expands Robotics Sponsorship

J.C. Penney may not be the first thing you think of when robotics and technology come to mind, but the department store is expanding its support of after school science and technology initiative, FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) by sponsoring 60 high school teams nationwide as they compete in robotics competitions this spring. As part of the sponsorship, each team will be mentored by their local J.C. Penney store.

FIRST is a charitable organization whose mission is to inspire young students, schools and communities to appreciate and celebrate the potential of science and technology. Through "March Madness" style robotics competitions, FRC says that these competitions are actually a growing varsity sport in many high schools. The aim is to immerse high school students in robotics education through competitions that design, build and program robots using engineering principles and a sports model of competition and teamwork.

FIRST sponsors include Abbott Labs, Autodesk, BAE Systems, Coca-Cola, Boeing, FedEx, NASA, the CIA, Google, Boston Scientific, Chrysler, GM, J&J, VC firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Motorola, Xerox and Rolls Royce among others.

"FIRST is an extracurricular activity that aligns with JCPenney's philanthropic mission of supporting youth development through positive afterschool opportunities," said Myron E. (Mike) Ullman, III, chairman and chief executive officer of JCPenney. "While students improve their academic capacity for science, technology, engineering and math, they also develop valuable inherent traits such as leadership and teamwork that will help them aspire to greater positions in life. As a retailer whose operations rely on technological advancements in order to deliver a seamless shopping experience, JCPenney is committed to securing a steady pipeline of highly skilled innovators."

JCPenney's sponsorship of 60 FRC teams across the country marks the beginning of the Company's goal to expand FIRST to over 1,100 JCPenney communities within the next few years. Each sponsored team is linked to a local JCPenney store or distribution center to offer support and assistance as students prepare for their regional competitions.