Mon. Dec 11th, 2023
    New Robotics Team at Henry Viscardi School Opens Doors for Students with Disabilities

    Albertson-based Henry Viscardi School is taking a significant step towards inclusivity by launching its first robotics team in collaboration with Festo US and FIRST Long Island. Festo, an industrial automation and robotics company, and FIRST, an organization dedicated to inspiring and cultivating interest in science and technology, have joined forces to work with students with disabilities for the first time. This groundbreaking initiative aims to foster a love for STEM and technology among young students, including those with disabilities, and prepare them for future careers in automation.

    Colin Gerson, the Vice President of IT for the Americas at Festo, emphasized the importance of starting automation education at a young age. He expressed his eagerness to develop a program and curriculum that would provide students with disabilities, such as those at Viscardi, with opportunities in automation. Gerson noted that automation encompasses not only machinery but also programming, emphasizing the increasing prevalence of coding and AI in the field.

    Gerson firmly believes that there will be a growing demand for technologists and programmers in the future, resulting in well-paying jobs. Launching a robotics team at Viscardi is a crucial step towards equipping students with the necessary skills and opportunities for success in automation. Gerson stressed the importance of building a curriculum that empowers students to develop coding skills, contribute to automation technology, and pursue fulfilling careers.

    The program delivery partner for FIRST Long Island, Troy Douglas, highlighted the core value of inclusion within FIRST’s goals. The collaboration between Viscardi educators and FIRST aims to create an inclusive environment for students, ensuring the program is adaptable to meet their diverse needs.

    The demo day at Viscardi showcased the engagement and learning between the robotics teams and students. Douglas emphasized that while the robots themselves are impressive, the true focus is on preparing students for their future careers. The robotics curriculum covers coding, teamwork, leadership, finance, business planning, and fundraising, providing students with the tools they need for a successful future in STEAM fields.

    By partnering with Festo and FIRST Robotics, Viscardi is enhancing its STEAM program and opening doors for students with disabilities to pursue future employment opportunities in web development, programming, and engineering. This initiative represents a crucial step towards creating a more inclusive and diversified workforce in automation and technology.


    Q: What is the purpose of launching a robotics team at Henry Viscardi School?
    A: The purpose is to provide students with disabilities opportunities in automation and STEM fields, preparing them for future employment.

    Q: How will the robotics curriculum benefit students?
    A: The curriculum focuses on coding, teamwork, leadership, finance, business planning, and fundraising, which will equip students with essential skills applicable to future careers.

    Q: Why is inclusion important in this collaboration?
    A: Inclusion is a core value of FIRST, and by creating an inclusive environment, the program can adapt to meet the diverse needs of all students.

    Q: What are the anticipated career opportunities in automation?
    A: There is a growing demand for technologists and programmers in the automation field, offering well-paying jobs with a shortage of skilled professionals.

    Q: How does Festo US contribute to this initiative?
    A: Festo US, an industrial automation and robotics company, is partnering with FIRST Long Island to inspire and cultivate interest in science and technology among students with disabilities. They aim to develop a program and curriculum to support students’ involvement in automation.