By GREGORY ZELLER //
An educational foundation dedicated to fostering the next generation of Computerized Numerical Control-trained machinists has boosted Farmingdale State College, once again.
The Farmingdale College Foundation is a registered 501(c)3 organization that turns donations and other gifts into scholarships, grants and projects that benefit Farmingdale State students and staff. The Gene Haas Foundation was launched in 1999 by Eugene Francis Haas, founder and president of California-based CNC machine tool manufacturer Haas Automation Inc., self-billed as “the largest CNC machine tool builder in the Western world.”
Since launching nearly two decades ago, the Gene Haas Foundation has supported more than 4,000 charitable organizations – to the tune of $50 million-plus – including a $5,000 gift to the Farmingdale College Foundation in 2015.
This time around, it’s $10,000 – enough to fund five partial scholarships for students in the Manufacturing Engineering Technology program, according to Dawn Grzan, director of the college’s Office of Research and Sponsored Program Development.
“Farmingdale State College is excited to partner with the Gene Haas Foundation for the second time,” Grzan told Innovate LI. “Their five scholarships will be awarded to well-deserving students to help offset the cost of their college education.”
The Mechanical Engineering Technology program leads to a bachelor of science degree through Farmingdale State’s School of Engineering Technology. Students receive hands-on industrial-equipment training in well-equipped computer, design, materials and manufacturing laboratories, among others.
The Mechanical Engineering Technology Department also boasts the Institute for Research and Technology Transfer, stocked with various CNC technologies, a state-of-the-art laser-cutting machine, a rapid-prototyping device, tech focused on biomass energy and hydrogen fuel cell research, a “vision controlled pick and place robot” and other cutting-edge machinery.
The impressive catalogue of next-gen tech is squarely in line with the Gene Haas Foundation’s mission of training tomorrow’s CNC professionals, according to Martin McGill, vice president of the Haas Factory Outlet, a division of Bohemia-based Allendale Machinery Systems that serves as a regional Haas Automation distributor and ad hoc showroom.
“American manufacturing businesses are struggling to find new young machinists,” McGill noted. “This is due to a skills gap caused by an unmet need for advanced technical education, such as that which is provided by schools like Farmingdale State College.
“Allendale Machinery supports the steps being taken by Farmingdale State College to address the need for an expansion of its educational program in manufacturing that will help to bridge this gap,” McGill added. “A grant from the Gene Haas Foundation will provide significant and vital support to ensure the lasting success of an industry that so positively impacts the American economy and people.”
The grant also furthers the overall mission of the Farmingdale College Foundation, which distributes over 250 student scholarships per year.
“This is in line with [Farmingdale State College President John Nader’s] goal of increasing the number of external scholarships to fund outstanding students,” Grzan said.