The manufacturing program at Quinsigamond Community College (Worcester, MA) received a $10,000 Gene Haas Foundation Grant. Lee Duerden, coordinator of QCC’s Manufacturing Technology Program, said the grant will be used for manufacturing scholarships awarded in the spring.
Developed by Gene Haas, owner of machine tool manufacturer Haas Automation Inc. (Oxnard, CA), the foundation was formed in 1999 to support the charitable needs within its local community of Ventura County, CA. As the foundation grew, so did the need for a stronger manufacturing workforce. Reports such as “The Skills Gap in U.S. Manufacturing 2015 and Beyond” project that, “Over the next decade, nearly three and a half million manufacturing jobs will likely need to be filled,” confirming the need for a skilled manufacturing workforce.
Today the focus and mission of the Gene Haas Foundation is in line with the needs of the educational community, to support manufacturing and help introduce students to careers in machining and related technologies. To date, the foundation has donated more than $52 million to support educators. High schools and colleges are eligible to apply for the funds on an annual cycle.
“There’s a shortage of skilled labor and as more people age out of the industry, there’s a dire need to replace them with well-educated, skilled workers,” said QCC President Dr. Luis Pedraja.
Duerden said the hope is to use the funds to support further education in the field of computer numerical control (CNC) and could be opened up to graduating vocational high school students and veterans. This is the first time the college has applied for the grant.
“I had found out about the award through my network and our relationship with Haas Technical Education Center,” Duerden said. “I am applying again for next year [and am hoping] this could become an annual award. We [want] to promote CNC as a skill and for this we need to provide opportunities for further education. This can be from K-12 to community college, or from community college to a four-year institute. [We hope] these funds will encourage students by breaking down some financial boundaries and providing them the opportunity to advance their education in this field.”
“The Haas commitment to education is visible in many ways; the Gene Haas Foundation is a significant portion of how we support educators to grow their pipeline and engage students to prepare them for amazing careers in advanced manufacturing,” said Toni Neary, director of education for Trident Machine Tools (a Haas Factory Outlet, Windsor, CT). “We are pleased to work with Quinsigamond Community College to build the future workforce in their region.”
For more information about QCC, contact Josh Martin, director of institutional communications at 508-854-7513 or firstname.lastname@example.org.