A group of students from Concord High School’s Full Metal Jacket’s robotics team spent last Friday at Caster Concepts, showing off their latest awesome robot, Tatiana. The Full Metal Jackets compete in FIRST Robotics Competitions (FRC), a program designed to teach technical skills, teamwork, business, and problem solving to high school students. Teams consist of 10 or more students and at least 2 adult mentors. Students are tasked with designing and building robots over the course of 6 weeks. They then compete with other teams to perform a specific series of tasks within a 2 minute time frame. Each season, the tasks are changed in order to prevent teams from recycling a previous year’s design. A film of their most recent competition can be viewed here.
Around a year ago Caster Concepts began searching for an FRC team to sponsor as a way to give back to the community. When company leadership began vetting local high schools for sponsorship it soon became obvious that the larger programs in the area already had their funding needs met. After noticing that the alma mater of our owner & CEO Bill Dobbins, Concord High School had been grossly underserved, and boasting a student population of only around 400, the decision was a no brainer. Since Caster Concepts’ involvement, the four year old program has come from being ranked below 300th in the state to a ranking of 24th out of around 450 teams and is expected to qualify for the World Competition this year.
Supplementary to our monetary support, company leadership also donates a great amount of time to the team. Dr. Elmer Lee spends approximately 400 hours per season teaching students programs like Solid Works, CAD, and Lab View as well as a number of other skills. When asked, Lee will tell you that the best part about his experience with the team is teaching and getting the chance to see the students improve.
In addition to the philanthropic aspects of sponsorship, Caster Concepts views its involvement as a long term investment in the community. Local students are learning the in demand skills necessary for a number of high paying jobs before entering the workforce. A few students from the program have even gone on to become summer interns here at Caster Concepts. We understand that a skilled workforce is essential for the long term growth of the company.