NORFOLK, Neb. – For the third consecutive year, the Machining and Manufacturing Automation program at Northeast Community College has received a $10,000 grant from the Gene Haas Foundation. The funds will be used to provide financial assistance to students enrolled in the program.
Steve Wagner, program instructor, said he is grateful to the Haas organization for the continuation of their generous gift to Northeast students.
“This financial support not only opens a door to a diploma program, but also makes possible an affordable diploma to accompany a Welding diploma or Mechanical Drafting AAS (Associate of Applied Science) degree. We’ve seen this pairing of degrees a number of times which allows them to build strong resumes,” Wagner said. “These funds have a two-year window to be distributed, so we are actively recruiting students to take advantage of this support.”
Grant applications are submitted by June of each year to the Gene Hass Foundation for grant funding to support students enrolling in manufacturing education at Northeast. Students are eligible for the financial support upon enrolling in the Machining & Manufacturing Automation program with no application and no restrictions in regard to grade point averages or income. Students must achieve at least a C average going into second semester at Northeast to continue to receive the funds.
The Haas funding has served sixteen Northeast manufacturing students since 2018 and continues to make career technical education affordable and prepare them for a wide range of career opportunities in manufacturing.
Haas Automation, Inc., is the largest tool manufacturer in the United States. Founded by entrepreneur Gene Haas, the company designs and manufactures precision machine tools and specialized accessory tooling, mostly computer numerically controlled (CNC), such as vertical machining centers and horizontal machining centers, lathes/turning centers, and rotary tables and indexers. The Northeast Diversified Manufacturing Lab contains a number of Haas CNC machines.
In 1999, Haas established the foundation that bears his name. Growing up with a strong social conscience instilled by his family, Haas initially formed the foundation to fund the needs of the local community. According to its website, Haas Automation is a now a billion-dollar company and its extraordinary growth has all come in an era when American’s were being told that the United States does not manufacture anything anymore. “Those perceptions and decisions made in our education system regarding vocational education have led to dire statistics. A report, “The Skills Gap in U.S. Manufacturing 2015 and Beyond” projects that, ‘Over the next decade, nearly three and a half million manufacturing jobs will likely need to be filled, and the skills gap is expected to result in 2 million of those jobs going unfilled.’”
Steve Wagner, instructor in the Machining and Manufacturing program at Northeast Community College, demonstrates a Haas Automation computer numerically controlled (CNC) machine for high school students during a tour of the program’s lab in March 2020. Northeast has received a $10,000 grant from the Gene Haas Foundation to provide financial assistance to students enrolled in the program.