Image Credit: Saskatchewan Polytechnic
Image Credit: Saskatchewan Polytechnic

Gene Haas Foundation supports Machinist and Innovative Manufacturing Programs

Generous donation strengthens manufacturing innovation at Saskatchewan Polytechnic

May 31, 2017 – Thanks to a $453,000 donation from the Gene Haas Foundation, Saskatchewan Polytechnic is able to take a giant step in supporting Saskatchewan’s manufacturing sector with state-of-the-art lab.

The Gene Haas Manufacturing Technology Lab will have state-of-the-art equipment and technology, which will benefit students, faculty and industry in meeting the needs of Saskatchewan’s growing manufacturing industry. Renovations and upgrades will be made to the existing Machinist training facility at Regina campus. The new Gene Haas Manufacturing Technology Lab will be completed this fall for use by Innovative Manufacturing program students, Machinist, Welding and Welding Fabricator certificate students and professionals working in the manufacturing industry. It will also be available to support applied research projects with industry.

“The Gene Haas Foundation is proud to be partnering with Saskatchewan Polytechnic. This grant is the next step in a long and fruitful relationship with all who make the manufacturing program what it is today and will be going forward,” says Kathy Looman, Gene Haas foundation administrator. “Gene Haas was introduced to the manufacturing industry when he was hired as a teenager, he experience the joy and success that "making things" can provide and the focus of his own privately funded foundation is to help others realize their potential in manufacturing as well.”

In addition to the gift presented today, the Gene Haas Foundation has provided more than $80,000 to fund scholarships for Saskatchewan Polytechnic students. Along with Haas Automation and Thomas Skinner and Sons, Inc., the Gene Haas Foundation is a significant partner in providing a highly skilled workforce for Saskatchewan’s manufacturing sector.

“The state-of-the-art facility will provide industry with access to innovative manufacturing technologies,” says Dr. Larry Rosia, Sask Polytech president and CEO. “It will be home to cutting-edge equipment and processes enabling our faculty, students and partners to discover new solutions to the manufacturing challenges faced by industry. This would not be possible without the support of the Gene Haas Foundation.”

The Gene Haas Manufacturing Technology Lab renovations include a new non-slip floor, installation of windows, removal of old equipment, updates to power supplies and updated classrooms and computer labs to advance Sask Polytech’s vision in being globally recognized as the first-choice polytechnic in Canada.

In 1999 Gene Haas founded the Gene Haas Foundation. Growing up with a strong social conscience instilled by his family, Haas initially formed the foundation to fund the needs of the local community. Haas is the owner Haas Automation, Inc., America’s leading builder of CNC machine tools, which he started in 1983. Haas Automation is a now a billion dollar company and this extraordinary growth has all come in an era when Americans were being told that the United States doesn’t manufacture anything anymore. Those perceptions and decisions made in our education system regarding vocational education have led to dire statistics. A recent report called “The Skills Gap in U.S. Manufacturing 2015 and Beyond” projects that, “Over the next decade, nearly three and a half million manufacturing jobs will likely need to be filled, and the skills gap is expected to result in 2 million of those jobs going unfilled.” Gene’s commitment to the importance of US manufacturing has incited him to grow his personal foundation and direct his foundation board to focus on manufacturing education in the form of scholarships for CNC machinist training. Haas is also a primary supporter of the community where his 1 million square foot manufacturing facility is located. To date, more than 4000 charitable (501 C 3) organizations and schools have received funds totaling over 50 million dollars from the Gene Haas Foundation.

Saskatchewan Polytechnic serves 28,000 distinct students through applied learning opportunities at campuses in Moose Jaw, Prince Albert, Regina and Saskatoon, and through extensive distance education opportunities. Programs serve every economic and public service sector. As a polytechnic, the organization provides the depth of learning appropriate to employer and student need, including certificate, diploma and degree programs, and apprenticeship training. Saskatchewan Polytechnic engages in applied research, drawing on faculty expertise to support innovation by employers, and providing students the opportunity to develop critical thinking skills.