Photo by Lloyd Wolf.

Gene Haas Foundation Stakes Skills Contest

March 1, 2012
Philanthropic investment in SkillsUSA machining contest
The SkillsUSA Machining Championship will bring over 1,100 competitors from across the country to compete head-to-head and against the clock at machining and programming skills. Photo by Lloyd Wolf.
“The industry needs to spend more time directing young people while they’re still in school where we can make a difference,” according to Peter Zierhut of the Gene Haas Foundation. Photo by Lloyd Wolf.

The Gene Haas Foundation has made a $27,000 grant to the SME Education Foundation to fund the development of a new SkillsUSA Machining Championship Award Program. The Gene Haas Foundation was established by Haas Automation Inc. founder and president Gene Haas to help fund community humanitarian causes. Since 1999, it has provided more than $10 million to more than 900 non-profit and charitable community causes, and one of its primary goals is to offer financial assistance to students interested in manufacturing careers, through career centers, technical schools, and community colleges and universities.

SkillsUSA is an academic/industrial partnership with over 307,000 members in chapters nationwide, working with students to prepare them for careers in technical, skilled, and service occupations. It promotes an applied instruction method to develop student’s practical experience, and its SkillsUSA Championship involves more than 1,100 corporations, trade associations, businesses, and unions as partners in a competitive program to focus the educational goals.

The 48th SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference (NLSC), including the SkillsUSA Championships, takes place June 23-27, in Kansas City, Mo. High-school and post-secondary school winners from SkillsUSA state competitions will engage in head-to-head and timed competitions to demonstrate their ability in a range of machining and manufacturing skills. These include manual turning, manual lathe operation, CNC programming for turning, and CNC programming for milling.

Haas Automation is a technical and hardware sponsor for the event, and together with the National Institute for Metalworking Skills (NIMS) it is sponsoring the contests for Precision Machining Technology, CNC Milling and CNC Turning. Thirty-six Haas CNC simulators will be used for the three CNC contests, along with a Haas TM 1P Toolroom mill and Haas TL 1 Toolroom lathe.

Gene Haas SkillsUSA Machining Championship Award certificates — Gold: $2,000, Silver: $1,500.; and Bronze: $1,000 — will be presented to 18 national medal winners.

“We are looking for employees with specific skill sets, and very often a rare combination of skill sets,” according to Peter Zierhut, representing the Gene Haas Foundation. “Students competing at the SkillsUSA Championship this summer will be using our advanced manufacturing equipment, be monitored and judged by engineers, learn from their peers, and meet future employers. The industry needs to spend more time directing young people while they’re still in school where we can make a difference.”

The 2012 SkillsUSA Machining Championship Award program will be administered by the SME Education Foundation. Winning competitors will receive a designated amount each year (directed to their respective schools) to support their continuing education. The SME Education Foundation said the SkillsUSA Machining Championship Awards support its efforts to align education and training to the needs of employers and job seekers, and to help manufacturers to differentiate their enterprises, using innovation and skilled workers.

“Each of the award winners represents a community network which includes their school, a local business that perhaps employed them as an intern, and a local manufacturer anxious to hire,” Bart A. Aslin, CEO, SME Education Foundation observed. “The metalworking industry defines manufacturing, and as this industry reignites we are pleased to have the Gene Haas Foundation working with us.”

About the Author

Robert Brooks | Content Director

Robert Brooks has been a business-to-business reporter, writer, editor, and columnist for more than 20 years, specializing in the primary metal and basic manufacturing industries. His work has covered a wide range of topics, including process technology, resource development, material selection, product design, workforce development, and industrial market strategies, among others. Currently, he specializes in subjects related to metal component and product design, development, and manufacturing — including castings, forgings, machined parts, and fabrications.

Brooks is a graduate of Kenyon College (B.A. English, Political Science) and Emory University (M.A. English.)