Gene Haas Foundation Awards $15K to Goodwin College CNC Machinist Training

Shown left to right at the Haas Foundation check presentation: Justine Piercy (CNC instructor), Cliff Thermer (Assistant Vice President for Strategy and Business Development, Department Chair), Len Walsh (Program Director for CNC Machining and Supply Chain & Logistics Management), Lorraine Palmer (Sales, HFO Trident), Jeff Boulden (VP of Sales HFO Trident), Chip Thermer (Manufacturing Program Administrator).

Goodwin College in East Hartford has been awarded a $15,000 grant for scholarship support by the Gene Haas Foundation, based in Oxnard, California. Representatives of the Foundation met with the faculty and staff members for a check presentation in September at the Goodwin College Business and Manufacturing Center.

One of the main goals of the Haas Foundation is to introduce students to careers in machine technology and manufacturing by sponsoring educational events, programs, and competitions that provide these opportunities. The Foundation also offers manufacturing scholarships to programs that help build skills within the machining industry.

Gene Haas, owner of Haas Automation, Inc., America’s leading builder of CNC machine tools, created the Foundation in 1999 in keeping with the strong social conscience instilled in him by his family. Haas’ commitment to the importance of U.S. manufacturing inspired him to direct his foundation board to focus on manufacturing education in the form of scholarships for CNC machining training. Kathy Looman, Foundation Administrator for Haas, referenced a recent report that illustrates the importance of the Foundation’s work. “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 two million of those jobs going unfilled.” To date, more than 1,500 charitable 501(c)(3) organizations and schools have received funds totaling more than 40 million dollars from the Foundation.

Lorraine Palmer of Trident Machine Tools LLC, a Haas distributorship in Windsor, became familiar with the Goodwin Manufacturing and Machining School and connected the faculty with Bob Skodzinsky, manager of the Haas Technical Education Center Program. Seeing the potential in the CNC students, Skodzinsky suggested the College apply for support. Len Walsh, Goodwin’s Program Director for CNC Machining and Supply Chain & Logistics Management, and Marion Leonard, Director of Grants and Planned Giving, worked on the application and later received notification of the award.

In distributing the $15,000 of scholarship support, Goodwin is allowed a generous amount of flexibility in identifying the student recipients. Guidelines are currently being established by the Business, Management, and Advanced Manufacturing Department, which comprises the CNC and other manufacturing and business programs. The manufacturing scholarships will be awarded for the College’s 2017 spring and summer semesters.

In discussing the benefits of the grant, Walsh stated, “Scholarships like this inspire academic achievement in our CNC students and are an effective means of promoting our program. The Haas Foundation’s generous gift is truly a momentous opportunity for Goodwin College students.”