The Gene Haas foundation donated $30,000 to Hudson Valley’s Advanced Manufacturing Technology degree program.
“The funds will be used to purchase the equipment needed for enrollment in machining programs… What we will be doing is we will be providing equipment tool kits to our incoming freshman class. That’s a huge expense for our students,” said Regina LaGatta, interim executive director of Hudson Valley Community College Foundation.
The College Foundation acts as the recipient for donations on behalf of the college, such as the recent one from the Gene Haas Foundation. The Gene Haas Foundation works with Hudson Valley’s College Foundation to meet the needs of the students in the manufacturing programs.
Kathy Looman, the foundation administrator at the Gene Haas Foundation, said, “Hudson Valley’s Machine Technology program is a very strong program and has an excellent reputation throughout the manufacturing industry.”
“We [believe] that it is important to train the future workforce with modern technology. Additionally, [the staff] have been very committed to our HTEC (Haas Technical Education Centers), a support group of educators for educators that really support and mentor other programs,” Looman continued.
There is a high demand for skilled employees in the manufacturing industry. Most students currently enrolled in the Advanced Manufacturing Technology degree program are already employed, or have secure employment awaiting them after graduation. GE is a major recruiter in the capital region for skilled machinists.
Department chair of the automotive, manufacturing, and electrical engineering technologies department Anthony Kossman said, “The manufacturing gap is a problem, not only here but in the whole United States… The employers are starved for young machinists to keep their businesses going.”
“For every engineer that is in a company they need four to five advanced manufacturing technicians to be able to do their job. That is the gap that Gene Haas is trying to fix across the country. I think, we don’t think we realize the amount of manpower or women-power that goes into manufacturing,” said LaGatta.
In the past, the Gene Haas Foundation has also provided funding for updating equipment, scholarships and special projects. They also provide training for any equipment they provide to Hudson Valley. Their donations are not limited to higher education, as the foundation also supports FIRST Robotics programs in high schools across the country.
“They also provide training for the machines. They’ll send someone here and do two weeks of training for faculty members, so they know how to run the machines. Most of them do know how to, but it’s just to update them on anything new,” said Kossman.
Kossman continued, “Haas’s cooperation with us has been nothing but a good thing for the program. It has allowed us to, in this time of tight budgets for the school, keep things at pretty high standards of accomplishment in the labs. It lets us do what we want to do instead of saying ‘Well, we can’t, because we don’t have the money.’”
The College Foundation’s role as recipient is to ensure that the funds are used as outlined by the donor. Hudson Valley was the recipient of a $1 million donation by Gene Haas which provided updated equipment and scholarships for students interested in the manufacturing programs.
“It’s huge. We ask them for it, but they’re always willing to help-out. They have an educational foundation which is kind of amazing. This is a company that’s a for-profit company, and they’re giving money away to education,” said Kossman.
Looman has high hopes for the future of Hudson Valley’s Manufacturing programs, “We are looking forward to the construction of the New Manufacturing Center, and believe it will be a strong support for manufacturing in the region.”