DEL MAR, Calif. (KGTV) - This weekend 47 teams from high schools around San Diego and other parts of the US will compete in the FIRST California Robotics Regional Championships.
The event brings the teens together to test their engineering and science skills. The teams get six weeks to design and build a robot to complete a handful of tasks.
But the technology isn't cheap, so many teams turn to local tech companies for donations.
San Diego based tech-giant Qualcomm is the title sponsor of the competition. They also give money to individual teams. Organizers say the companies see it as a way to excite teens about careers in STEM.
"They look at this as their future workforce," says Regional Director David Berggren. "If we can get these kids invested in STEM fields now, they're going to be great future employees, and it's money well spent for the company."
The actual dollar amounts aren't given, but some schools say companies donate thousands of dollars each year. Logos on t-shirts and team booths show companies like Apple, Qualcomm, Viasat, 3M, Solar Turbines, BAE Systems, leidos and more have made donations.
In addition to the money, companies donate time, providing volunteers to mentor the teens through the design and building process. They work hands on with the teams, giving kids an up close look at careers in STEM fields.
"It's eye-opening, it's surreal," says Southwest High School Senior Alejandro Gendrop. "To not only have someone aid us with how we're supposed to organize our team, put it together, but also to get a view into the industry and how they work and how similar our work is to theirs, it's great."
The competition in Del Mar is Friday and Saturday, and admission is free. Winners from this weekend advance to the national championship in Houston next month. For more information, go to http://casd.cafirst.org.