Catawba Valley Community College’s Computer Integrated Machining degree program recently received a $10,000 grant from Gene Haas Foundation to help meet the demand for skilled machinists in Catawba and surrounding counties.
The grant will be used to provide tuition assistance for students enrolling in the Computer Integrated Machining associate degree, diploma or certificate programs at CVCC.
Catawba and surrounding counties are experiencing a machinist shortage. Tuition assistance will help remove some of the barriers that students face when completing their career training.
Part of the Gene Haas Foundation gift will be used to apply for National Institute for Metalworking Skills (NIMS) accreditation.
“This is a huge step toward getting our machining program recognized as the industry standard,” said Steven Rhoads, director of CVCC’s Computer Integrated Machining program.
NIMS certification indicates to employers that CVCC graduates are the most highly qualified, skilled machinist on the market. It will help CVCC graduates obtain and retain the best, highest paying jobs, Rhoads explained.
“In the past year, Steven has put in place many new programs that will prepare our students for the challenges they will face when they enter the workplace,” said Gary Muller, Dean of the School of Business, Industry & Technology. “Steven and his students have worked hard in the classroom and beyond. Their efforts have been recognized when they earned state championships in the SkillsUSA machining competition two out of the last three years.”
Student Lev Burgess captured the state SkillsUSA machining championship this year and will compete in the national competition held in Louisville, Ky., this summer.
About Haas Automation, Inc., and Gene Haas Foundation:
Gene Haas founded Haas Automation, Inc., based in Oxnard, Calif., in 1983. Now the largest CNC machine tool builder in the western world, the company manufactures four major product lines: vertical machining centers (VMCs), horizontal machining centers (HMCs), CNC lathes and rotary tables, as well as a number of large five-axis and specialty machines.
In 1999 Gene Haas founded the Gene Haas Foundation. Growing up with a strong social conscience instilled by his family, Haas formed the foundation to fund the needs of the local community. However, his commitment to the importance of US manufacturing incited him to grow his personal foundation and direct his foundation board to focus on manufacturing education in the form of scholarships for CNC machinist training.