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JCP expands FIRST program
19
Feb '10
As the leading corporate advocate for positive afterschool programs, J. C. Penney Company, Inc. is expanding its support of FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) by sponsoring 60 high school teams nationwide as they compete in FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) regional events this spring.

FIRST is a charitable organization whose mission is to inspire young students, schools and communities to appreciate and celebrate the limitless potential of science and technology. Through fast-paced, high-energy, "March Madness" style robotics competitions, FRC is a growing varsity sport that immerses high school students in robotics education through competitions to design, build and program robots using engineering principles and a sports model of competition and teamwork.

"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 and encourage participation by "rookie" teams as well as minority and female students. 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.

Working with professional and technical mentors, these young inventors have six weeks to develop and test their robots to meet this year's FIRST challenge: BREAKAWAY. In alliances of three teams each, six robots maneuver through a bumpy playing field while attempting to earn points by kicking or rolling soccer balls through designated goals. The challenge not only measures the effectiveness of each robot but also the successful collaboration and Gracious Professionalism(TM) demonstrated by the team alliances.

According to a national study commissioned by JCPenney Afterschool and the Afterschool Alliance to explore how America's children are spending their afternoons, the America After 3PM report reveals that a vast majority of parents in America want their kids to be involved in an afterschool activity that not only keeps them safe, but helps further their potential in life - both socially and academically. Increasing these educational opportunities through FIRST is integral to motivating American youth to excel in science and maththereby strengthening the country's future role in technological innovation.

"FIRST is about giving kids the opportunity to build skill sets to one day become a scientist, engineer, or inventor," said Dean Kamen, FIRST Founder. "Ten years from today, one of these students is going to be out in the world having done something extraordinary for a major, global problem."

J. C. Penney Company Inc

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