Students pursuing careers in machining technology can access scholarships available through the SME Education Foundation, thanks to funding from the Gene Haas Foundation.
DEARBORN, Mich., August 9, 2010 — The Gene Haas Foundation  has provided a $150,000 grant to the SME Education Foundation  to help qualified students interested in machine operation and maintenance coursework take advantage of the Haas Machining Technology Scholarship .
Bart A. Aslin, Foundation Director, SME Education Foundation said, "We are proud to support machining technology education. And we are grateful to the Gene Haas Foundation for entrusting us with this generous gift to bring scholarships to deserving and needy students from across the country."
High school seniors, graduates or GED recipients will be eligible for the one-year Haas Machining Technology Scholarship, which will range from $1,000 to $5,000 for each awarded scholarship. The SME Education Foundation will begin accepting applications on September 1, 2010. Click here  to access the application and scholarship information.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), machinists are becoming more efficient as a result of the expanded use of and improvements in technologies such as CNC machine tools, autoloaders, high-speed machining, and lights-out manufacturing. Technology is not expected to affect the employment of machinists as significantly as that of some other production workers, however, because machinists monitor and maintain many automated systems. Due to modern production techniques, employers prefer workers, such as machinists, who have a wide range of skills and are capable of performing almost any task in a machine shop.
Says Peter Zierhut, Director of Public Relations, Haas Automation, Inc., "As innovation and advanced technologies expand, there is an increasing demand for highly-skilled and multi-talented machinists. Haas Automation considers this scholarship to be a smart investment in the future of manufacturing. We are making sure students have access to funds which allow them to take advantage of high quality training programs."
The scholarships complement the work being done through the Haas Technical Education Center (HTEC). Its network leverages the technologies and capabilities of Haas Automation and partners with industry, schools and professional societies to ensure qualified learning institutes receive support and are able to provide the highest quality manufacturing education possible. As of April, 2010, the HTEC Network in the USA and Canada includes 986 educational institutions made up of 154 high schools, 187 vocational schools and career centers, 407 community colleges and 238 colleges and universities.
The SME Education Foundation will draw from a national network of students participating in its Gateway Academy  pre-engineering programs offered at more than 3,000 middle and high schools. Its curriculum is the result of a partnership with Project Lead The Way , a nonprofit organization that offers science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education curriculum in middle and high school.
As manufacturing innovation spurs growth across all industry sectors, the only viable path for a secure future is (STEM)-based education. Manufacturers and job shops are competing on a global scale with stringent job requirements making hiring highly selective. In high school, students should take math courses, especially trigonometry and geometry and, if available, courses in blueprint reading, metalworking, and drafting. Some advanced positions, such as those in the aircraft manufacturing industry, require the use of advanced applied calculus and physics.
The Gene Haas Foundation was established in 1999 by Gene Haas, founder and president of Haas Automation, Inc., the largest machine tool manufacturer in the United States. One of the primary goals of the Gene Haas Foundation is to provide financial assistance for students interested in manufacturing-based careers. Scholarship programs are available through career centers, technical schools, community colleges and universities.
Gene Haas recognizes the future of manufacturing in the United States is directly dependent on the availability of skilled workers. That future hinges on recruiting more students and developing quality training programs across the country. The Gene Haas Foundation funding goes directly to those training programs to attract prospective students.
The SME Education Foundation is committed to inspiring, supporting and preparing the next generation of manufacturing engineers and technologists in the advancement of manufacturing education. Created by the Society of Manufacturing Engineers in 1979, the SME Education Foundation has provided more than $31 million since 1980 in grants, scholarships and awards through its partnerships with corporations, organizations, foundations, and individual donors. Visit the SME Education Foundation at www.smeef.org . Also visit www.CareerMe.org , a new website supporting advanced manufacturing careers and www.manufacturingiscool.com , an award-winning website for young people.