The Gene Haas Foundation has awarded a $1 million grant to Randolph Community College to name the machining program, classrooms, and lab the Gene Haas Computer-Integrated Machining Institute.
The $1 million gift will be used to expand the program, according to Dr. Robert Shackleford, RCC president. “The funds will help us close both the skills gap and the interest gap in Computer-Integrated Machining,” said Shackleford. “We’ll close the skills gap by continuing to provide the very best in machining education, and by producing more qualified workers; and we’ll close the interest gap by using some of the funds to expose high school students to the career possibilities in advanced manufacturing.”
RCC’s Computer-Integrated Machining program has been designated a Haas Technical Education Center by Haas Automation since July 2007. To qualify, a school must meet quality standards established by Haas Automation and the HTEC Council. The program is also accredited by the National Institute for Metalworking Skills (NIMS).
Haas has funded numerous student scholarships for RCC’s CIM students. Providing funds to community colleges and vocational schools for students entering CNC machinist-based certificate and degree programs is of particular interest to the Gene Haas Foundation. Haas Automation is the largest and most modern machine tool builder in North America.
“There are 318,000 manufacturing jobs going unfilled due to a lack of skilled workers,” said Kathy Looman, administrator, Gene Haas Foundation. “That number is growing, as so many people employed in this industry are baby boomers who are retiring. Manufacturing is a very promising industry that is vital to the U.S. and global economies. It offers high-paying, clean-technology careers. Growing a local, qualified workforce is a win-win effort, both for young people seeking career paths, and for local manufacturers who need qualified workers.”
RCC has doubled the space for its Computer-Integrated Machining program; yet, local manufacturers still say they need more qualified machinists.
A formal ribbon-cutting ceremony and unveiling of the new signage will take place Friday, Oct. 7, just before the fall NASCAR race in Charlotte.