Gene Haas Foundation dignitaries were welcomed to Bridgerland Technical College on May 13, 2021, to commemorate the donation of a $250,000 grant utilized in remodeling the Machining Technology department, classrooms, and laboratory.
Wes Chambers, Department Head of the Machining Technology program, commented, “Thanks to the generous grant from the Gene Haas Foundation, we were able to update the lab to make it function more like the local machine shops, which really elevates the hands-on training the students get to enjoy in this program.”
Mr. Gene Haas of Oxnard, California, started Gene Haas Manufacturing in the early 1960s and turned it into a worldwide company providing machining tools, lathes, and equipment to anywhere from small machine shops to large corporations. The Gene Haas Foundation has supported machining education for several decades and has given out over $100 million to enhance and support students in skill development.
Vance Briggs, High School Instructor for the Machining Technology program, said, “What I’m most excited about has been the expansion of the classroom. We have increased our class space and the computers by 50%, which I am excited about. It will allow me to let in students in who may have previously been turned away because of lack of space.”
The Cache Valley Chamber of Commerce was on hand with their team to celebrate the new “Gene Haas Center for Machining Innovation,” which is a designation within the Machining Technology program that encourages excellence in technology and skill development.
During the event, the Gene Haas Foundation also donated an additional $30,000 in scholarship money to be utilized by students in the Machining Technology program. Frank Stewart, Chief Development Officer, said, “The impact and influence that Mr. Gene Haas has had for both high school and college students in technical education and machining specifically is exponential. Scholarships and equipment support give our students a big leg up in gaining their education and a rewarding career.”
The Machining Technology program at Bridgerland Technical College began in 1994 and has steadily grown to provide certification in CNC machining and production to both high school and post-secondary learners. Scott Danielson, Associate VP, says, “Graduates have plenty of opportunities to become high-wage/high-demand employees for a number of companies that service and produce related equipment in northern Utah.”