Ashley supports local competitive robotics teams | Community

Ashley Furniture Industries, LLC (Ashley) has supported many area student robotics programs this year to support STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education programs and spark student interest in these areas.

FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics is an international volunteer-led program that encourages students to be leaders in science and technology while aiming to inspire young minds in STEM fields.

Trempealeau County Robotics (TC Robotics) is a diverse FIRST Robotics team comprised of high school students from Trempealeau County school districts. The team is mentored by Ashley employees, including engineers. The team hands-on in Ashley’s state-of-the-art automation facility where students have the opportunity to use advanced tools such as a Haas CNC mill, CNC waterjet, and SolidWorks. Students learn and apply engineering fundamentals including electronics, drafting, and programming during their six-week build season. High school team members can also make connections within the company and learn industry-ready skills that could translate into valuable internships and career opportunities in the company during and after high school. .

With guidance and leadership from industry experts, the team took their finished robot to the Seven Rivers Regional Competition in La Crosse, Wisconsin, where they finished day one undefeated. On the second day, the team dominated the qualifiers and captained the alliance for the final matches. The team and its alliance placed first, qualifying for the World Championship in Houston, Texas. Not only did the team win the title of champion, but they also received the innovation control award, celebrating an innovative control system or the application of control components – electrical, mechanical or software – to provide unique machine functions.

This spring, area middle and high school students also competed in statewide VEX Robotics competitions. Ashley Furniture has been a proud partner of K-12 VEX Robotics programs in western Wisconsin school districts since 2017. Many local teams have qualified for the Wisconsin VEX IQ State Championship hosted at the Milwaukee School of Engineering and have done well. represented the region. Two western Wisconsin schools had world championship-qualified college VEX robotics teams, including Cochrane-Fountain City and St. Paul Lutheran Schools in Onalaska, Wis. These teams traveled to Dallas, Texas where they competed alongside more than 800 teams with representation from every US state and 44 countries.

As manufacturing continues to progress, supporting the training of our current generation and the next generation of leaders has become more crucial. Ashley and the Wanek family have made several contributions in the field of education. In addition to support for STEM initiatives, millions of dollars in funds and in-kind services have been provided to help local schools and universities, and more than 2,000 scholarships over the past ten years to help offset the escalation higher education costs.