LANSING — State Representative Gretchen Driskell (D-Saline) sponsored earlier this month the 2015 Michigan Capitol Robotics Day, which offered Michigan STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) students the opportunity to display their technological creations, including robots and drones, in a relaxed and interactive atmosphere. The event took place in the North Hall off the main Capitol rotunda on Oct. 7.

“The state’s employment landscape has changed drastically in the last several years, and will continue to do so,” Driskell said. “It is vital that we not only continue to support STEM education programs, but the students who are interested in them.”

In 2013, more than 19 percent of the state’s total gross product was comprised of manufacturing and STEM-related jobs. Despite this, nearly $100,000 in professional development for teachers in STEM instruction was cut from the school aid budget this year. In offering these students a chance to display their creativity, Driskell hopes to remind her fellow legislators of the importance of equipping Michigan students with the tools to thrive in the professional world of the future.

“Days like this serve not only as a celebration of the ingenuity of our youth, but as an investment in Michigan’s workforce of tomorrow,” Driskell said. “By communicating to them now that their contributions and ideas are valuable to us, we’re building the connections needed to keep them here, and to keep our state moving forward.”