FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), a global K-12 not-for-profit organization founded by inventor Dean Kamen to inspire young people’s interest in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), announced Caterpillar Inc. as a strategic partner. The global infrastructure company, which has supported FIRST since 2005, is recognized as providing the highest level of sponsorship through cumulative and overarching support of the youth-serving organization. “Through the company’s dedication to building a STEM pipeline, Caterpillar has a long history of supporting FIRST by providing team sponsorships and valuable mentorship from employee volunteers,” said FIRST President Donald E. Bossi. “FIRST is proud to call Caterpillar a strategic partner in our mission to inspire young people to become innovators, leaders, and creative problem solvers. Together, we can help even more students gain both the STEM and soft skills they need to achieve successful careers in the 21st century.” Caterpillar began supporting FIRST in 2005 by sponsoring 10 FIRST teams near the company’s headquarters in Peoria, IL. That year, more than 50 employees volunteered more than 5000 hours with 200 students in the Peoria area. Since then, Caterpillar has expanded its support to sponsor more than 200 FIRST teams around the world, contributing 800 employee volunteers, donating more than 100,000 hours and directly reaching 2500-plus students annually. Today, Caterpillar’s engineering workforce includes many FIRST alumni. In 2017, Caterpillar was among the sponsors of the FIRST STEM Equity Community Innovation Grants to address inequalities in STEM education. “As an engineer, I think it’s critical that we develop interest in and excitement about science and technology at early ages. As a company, Caterpillar has a vested interest in building a strong pipeline of future innovators,” said Caterpillar Vice President and Chief Technology Officer Tom Bluth. “Our purpose is: Our solutions help our customers build a better world. Strategic partnerships with organizations such as FIRST help us grow the next generation of engineers, scientists, and technologists that will fulfill this purpose.” Caterpillar joins more than 20 other companies, including one federal agency, that have achieved the top-tier level for sponsorship of FIRST. Together, these strategic partners provide significant funding, mentorship, volunteerism, equipment, and more to enhance the reach and overall impact of FIRST. For more information about FIRST programs and sponsorship opportunities, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.