The Gene Haas Foundation

The Gene Haas Foundation made a gift of $1 million for scholarships in advanced manufacturing, as well as machining training and education to benefit as many as 1,000 students. The presentation ceremony took place next to the Haas Technical Education Center (HTEC) on the Glendale Community College campus. Gene Haas presented a check to Kathy Burnham of the SME Education Foundation, which will administer the scholarship fund.

The Gene Haas Foundation was created by Gene Haas, founder of Haas Automation. Gene is the company’s principal innovator and engineer, and he works daily on product design and operations.“Gene Haas’ vision is a sustainable workforce and creating opportunity for disadvantaged youth, among others,” said Bob Murray, Gene Haas Foundation Board Chair. “Our goal is to lead by example and help those in need. Workforce development is a key way to improve the lives of many while helping build a stronger economy for all. The SME Education Foundation will ensure these scholarships help many communities and support many students.”

Scholarships range from $1,000 to $2,500 depending on the cost of the applicant’s program. The funds are sent directly to the recipient’s school according to Bart A. Aslin, CEO, SME Education Foundation.

“As we work to dispel the myth that people with four-year degrees automatically make more money than those without, we recognize the importance of creating educational pathways that allow all students the chance to earn a good living but also to fill the manufacturing gaps that exist,” Aslin said. “Funding for programs like the Gene Haas Machining Technology Scholarship allows us to do just that.”

A scholarship gift of this nature aligns exactly with AMT – The Association For Manufacturing Technology’s Smartforce development strategy of building the next-generation manufacturing workforce through advanced manufacturing technology programs at community colleges. This allows students to earn an associate’s degree that they can use immediately in the workforce, and earn a certification where appropriate. Earning an associate’s degree at a community college has the added benefit of allowing students to earn a degree without taking on thousands of dollars in student loan debt that they will carry with them long past graduation.

The scholarship application process is online and opens in September 2013. The SME Education Foundation expects to award 950 to 1,000 scholarships this year.

To be eligible, applicants must pursue an associate’s degree or technology certificate, like those awarded through NIMS, The National Institute for Metalworking Skills, and have a high school diploma or GED.

A scholarship committee will review the applications as they are submitted to ensure that the minimum eligibility requirements are met. All applicants meeting the requirements will be awarded a scholarship, as long as funding is available.

Displaced workers or people training for a second career, like military veterans, are eligible as well. Also present at the event was Workshops for Warriors Director Hernan Luis Y Prada along with some of his students. They were all military veterans who have already benefitted from the industry training and NIMS certifications they received after attending the Workshops for Warriors program in San Diego, CA. Workshops for Warriors has received gifts in the form of funding and equipment from the Gene Haas Foundation and other industry supporters. Learn more about this program at www.WorkshopsForWarriors.org

For more information about the Gene Haas Foundation, visit www.ghaasfoundation.org. For more information or to direct a student to apply for a scholarship, visit www.smeef.org/scholarships.