Manufacturing Program is Recipient of $1 Million Challenge Gift from the Haas Foundation

September 22, 2015

Hudson Valley Community College recently received a leadership challenge gift of $1 million from the Gene Haas Foundation for the expansion of the college's Advanced Manufacturing Technology program and Lang Hall, the building which houses the program's labs and classrooms.

The college's Foundation will accept and recognize the gift during a ceremony on Wednesday, Sept. 23 on the Troy campus, while kicking off fundraising activities to secure matching federal, state and private funding to meet the Haas challenge. The ceremony will begin at 10:30 a.m. at the Student Pavilion and conclude with a reception at 11:30 a.m.

In honor of the gift, one of the largest Hudson Valley's Foundation has ever received, the expansion to be made to the Lang Building will be named the Gene Haas Technology Center.

As founder and president of Haas Automation, Inc., which builds CNC Machine Tools for manufacturing, Gene Haas began the Gene Haas Foundation in 1999 to provide support for schools that offer manufacturing and machine technology programs. Haas Automation is a longtime partner of Hudson Valley and provider of the equipment used in student training.

Manufacturing in the United States, and particularly in the Capital Region, remains strong with nearly 220,000 positions for machinists and industrial maintenance technicians expected to open by 2020. There is, however, a shortage of skilled workers to fill these jobs, leaving manufacturing firms struggling to expand business and create new jobs.

Funding from the Gene Haas Foundation will enable the college to double the number of Advanced Manufacturing Technology students at Hudson Valley. The Associate in Occupational Studies program currently serves a maximum of 40 students through day and evening coursework and hands-on training. Plans call for a two-story addition to the college's existing training facility, Lang Hall, including the latest machine tools, equipment and software in labs for metrology, CAD/CAM, metallurgy, electronic controls, machining, assembly and grinding.

The Advanced Manufacturing Technology program prepares graduates for immediate employment with many local and regional high-tech manufacturing companies performing advanced machining processes that produce tooling and components used to make everything from electronics and defense equipment, to power generators and aerospace apparatus. The program's coursework satisfies educational requirements for New York State Machinist, Toolmaker, CNC Machinist and CNC Programmer apprenticeships.

An important aspect of the program is the partnerships shared with manufacturing companies in the region. A number of companies in the region provide scholarships for books, tuition and fees, and hire students for part-time jobs that lead to full-time employment upon graduation. In fact, the program has a 100% job placement rate for graduates, with nearly all students (95%) securing jobs ahead of graduation.

"In response to the critical need for a manufacturing industry workforce the Gene Haas Foundation has partnered with a few schools that we believe are among the best. We are honored for the Gene Haas name to be placed on this machining training center at Hudson Valley Community College and we look forward to the impact that the graduates of this program will make in this region and the strength of manufacturing in our country," said Kathy Looman, Foundation Administrator for the Gene Haas Foundation.

"Hudson Valley Community College is extraordinarily grateful to the Gene Haas Foundation for this generous gift that will support a major and long-needed expansion of Advanced Manufacturing Technology at Hudson Valley. This institution was built on technical programs such as Advanced Manufacturing and with the partnership of Gene Haas and his foundation, today we take a huge step forward in our efforts to bridge the skills gap between the existing workforce and 21st century jobs," said Drew Matonak, president of Hudson Valley Community College. "Haas stands as a perfect example of how industry partners are integral to the success of the college, our students and our region."