OREANDA-NEWS. Consumers Energy is again sponsoring the FIRST in Michigan robotics state championship, which promotes science, technology, engineering and math to the next generation of Michigan leaders and innovators.

"Consumers Energy is a strong supporter of school robotics as we plan for our future and for the future of our state," said Garrick Rochow, Consumers Energy's vice president and chief customer officer. "The work these students are doing and the fun they are having with robotics are teaching important lessons that will help put them on a successful path to high school, through college, and into jobs that are in high demand."

Consumers Energy is sponsoring this week's high school competition, today through Saturday's finals at the DeltaPlex Arena in Grand Rapids as part of its commitment to inspiring students to explore STEM – science, technology, engineering and math – fields.

Last year, Consumers Energy started the Generation Genius Project, which represents its involvement in promoting STEM and robotics. The company and the Consumers Energy Foundation contributed over $155,000 to support robotics teams and competitions at the elementary, middle and high school levels throughout Michigan. In addition, Consumers Energy employees help school teams through coaching and other hands-on assistance.

FIRST in Michigan has set a goal of having 500 teams by 2018 when Detroit will host the World Championships.

"Support from Consumers Energy has allowed schools from all over the state to have the opportunity to participate in FIRST Robotics," said Gail Alpert, president and secretary of FIRST in Michigan. "Our mission to create a sustainable FIRST Robotics team at every school in Michigan is becoming a reality. Now even the smallest schools from rural areas and under-resourced schools from urban communities have a chance to participate."

Consumers Energy's commitment to STEM and robotics is about Michigan's future, attracting and keeping talented individuals to work in the state.

"Michigan has been known for its inventors and entrepreneurs -- thinkers who lead the way for technological breakthroughs," Rochow said. "Supporting students who are interested in robotics is just one way to make sure Michigan continues to lead for generations to come."

Consumers Energy, Michigan's largest utility, is the principal subsidiary of CMS Energy (NYSE: CMS), providing natural gas and electricity to 6.7 million of the state's 10 million residents in all 68 Lower Peninsula counties.