Northeast Technology Center’s Kansas Campus was recently awarded a $5,000 grant from the Gene Haas Foundation to put towards improving its welding program. The grant funds are part of a new partnership to provide schools and training centers with cutting-edge educational materials to inspire students and provide pathways to advanced manufacturing careers.
“With 3.5 million manufacturing jobs needing to be filled over the next decade, our economic competitiveness depends on preparing today’s students for current and future jobs,” said Gene Hass Foundation’s Kathy Looman.
Awarding the grant was Johnnie Austin, Sales Engineer for Timco Machine Tools. Timco Machine Tools is the Oklahoma dealer for Haas equipment.
“Our goal with these grants is to help provide the critical resources educators and students need to understand and embrace the skills required to be successful in advanced manufacturing jobs,” said Austin.
Gene Haas, owner of Haas Automation, Inc., founded the Gene Haas Foundation in 1999. Haas Automation is America's leading builder of CNC machine tools. Started in 1983, the now-billion-dollar company and its owner have a commitment to the importance of US manufacturing with a focus on manufacturing education, scholarships for CNC machinist training and helping technical programs that teach these skills grow and expand.
“The Haas Foundation is big into schools that train in manufacturing,” said Austin. “If you go into just about any shop across nation, you will see Haas equipment. That’s largely because of their commitment to education. The company offers free training to educators as well as discounts on equipment for schools.”
NTC’s Kansas Campus has arguably one of the state’s most successful welding programs – classes are consistently full on enrollment, and students annually compete and place in the local, state and national competitions offered through the SkillsUSA organization.
Welding instructor Josh Alley is new to the NTC team, and just completed his first year of instruction. He’s already producing impressive results, one of which is a $5,000 grant for his program.
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“I’m leaning toward using the grant money to purchase material and equipment to construct a tower that will simulate building a skyscraper, bridge, pipeline, etc.,” Alley said. “Up to this point, our students have been trained on the ground, and I think it will benefit them to get some elevated welding experience.”
NTC’s training options are a fit for anyone interested in acquiring welding skills that would make them marketable to work in the manufacturing industry. Students are trained on oxyfuel welding and cutting, shielded metal and arc welding, MIG and TIG welding as well as pipe welding.
NTC tracks its graduates each year, and 90% of Alley’s students are either employed as welders or continuing their education.
“It’s easy to find welding jobs if you’ll get off your rear and hustle,” said Alley. “We have a great welding program at NTC Kansas, and with the help of this grant, it will only get better.”
To date, more than 1,200 charitable organizations and schools have received funds totaling over $38 million from the Gene Haas Foundation. The Gene Haas Foundation also awarded grants to programs at the Afton and Claremore Campuses earlier this spring