LOGAN – Last June, Bridgerland Technical College received a $250,000 grant from the Gene Haas Foundation to create a Machining Innovation program at the Logan campus. Nearly a year later, the college celebrated with foundation dignitaries, the Cache Chamber of Commerce, faculty and others for an official ribbon cutting of a remodeled Machining Technology department, classrooms and laboratory.
“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,” said Wes Chambers, department head of the Machining Technology program at B-Tech. The technical college was able to add new 5-Axis machines to help train students and prepare them for the best jobs in the manufacturing industry.
Gene Haas is the originator of specialized machining equipment that is used in almost every machine shop in the country. 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. The one caveat with the $250,000 grant from last June was that it could not be spent specifically on Gene Haas equipment.
“What I’m most excited about has been the expansion of the classroom,” said Vance Briggs, high school instructor for the Machining Technology program. “We have increased our class space and the computers by 50%, which is a lot. It will allow me to let in students in who may have previously been turned away because of lack of space.”
During the event, the foundation also donated an additional $30,000 in scholarship money to be utilized by students in the Machining Technology program.
“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,” Chief Development Officer Frank Stewart said. “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 since then to provide certification to both high school and post-secondary students.