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Robots take over Yakima SunDome

Robots take over Yakima SunDome.

YAKIMA, Wash. - YAKIMA, Wash.- Every stand in the seat filled. Ready to see robots go head to head in the field.

But this isn't a fight to the death.

“It's not battle bots. It's all focused around two core values. Gracious professionalism and coopertition,” Erin McCallum with First Washington said.

Teams work together to tips the scales in their favor by picking up boxes and dropping them on either side of the level.

The students have six weeks to put their robots together, but a victory is decided in a matter of minutes.

McCallum said the state is second in the nation when it comes to stem jobs being available.

However, we're 49th when it comes to having qualified people to fill those jobs.

And with over 740,000 jobs expected to open up in the next five years, First Washington wants to get high schoolers ready to fill those positions.

“It is our opportunity and quite frankly our responsibility to make sure our talent is local and to get these kids into career opportunities that are right here in the Yakima Valley,” McCallum said.

Members from the Wapato high school robotics and engineering club were competing and see this as way to get a looking at their potential future jobs.

“When I grow up I want to be an aerospace engineer and this kind of ties into the field I want to be in,” president of the club Carlos Trejo said.

Haywire is a team from Kittitas County and many of the team is made up of "nerdy girls".

A group that encourages girls to go into stem based industries.

“Not a lot of girls are ever part of robotics or never get hands on. Girls just need to step up and join because it's such a great experience,” member Elli Pollock said.

With over thirty teams looking to place first, there's still a chance the Yakima Valley could be the best in the Pacific Northwest.

The FIRST WASHINGTON Competition is also going on Saturday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and is free to the public.

So, if you’re interested in seeing some robots, just head to the Yakima Sun Dome.

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