Consumers Energy Launches Generation Genius Project to Inspire Students to Explore Robotics, Science Fields

Students from Michigan Heading to St. Louis for World Competition

JACKSON, Mich., April 20, 2015-- Consumers Energy is cheering for Michigan high school students who are heading to the world FIRST Robotics championship - and promoting robotics to the next generation of engineers, scientists and workers in technology-related fields.

"We are excited by the opportunities created by robotics in schools to inspire students to learn and explore science, technology, engineering and math fields," said Patti Poppe, Consumers Energy's senior vice president of distribution operations, engineering and transmission. "That's why we launched our new Generation Genius Project to make sure Michigan is first in the nation when it comes to developing young minds through science and robotics."

Generation Genius represents Consumers Energy's lasting commitment to inspiring students to explore STEM - science, technology, engineering and math - fields.

The Consumers Energy Foundation contributed $450,000 last year to support STEM programs, including FIRST teams at middle schools and high schools across the state. With help from the foundation, FIRST in Michigan added 77 high school robotics teams last year - more than all other states put together. Michigan has 345 teams this year, more school robotics teams than any state. FIRST in Michigan 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 robotics is about Michigan's future, attracting and keeping talented individuals to work in the state. Employees also have a hands-on connection to school robotics, coaching and providing assistance to several teams.

"Much like our state's economy, Consumers Energy depends on STEM talent to innovate, engineer, anticipate and respond to opportunities now and in the future," Poppe said. "We saw hundreds of students display their talent and expertise at the Michigan FIRST Robotics State Championships for high schools this month in Grand Rapids, and we're excited to see their experience provide many of them with a foundation for successful careers in STEM fields."

The high school state competition took place April 8-11 in Grand Rapids. About 70 teams will be taking part in the world championships Wednesday through Saturday in St. Louis.

Consumers Energy, Michigan's largest utility, is the principal subsidiary of CMS Energy (NYSE: CMS), providing natural gas and electricity to 6.6 million of the state's 10 million residents in all 68 Lower Peninsula counties.

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