Gene Haas Advanced Manufacturing Lab Opens At Ventura College

The Gene Haas Advanced Manufacturing Lab had its grand opening Thursday, October 7 at the Applied Science Center at Ventura College. More than 100 guests attended the celebration, including Ventura Unified School District high school students, dignitaries, and strategic community partners.

In December 2019, the Gene Haas Foundation made a $250,000 grant to the Ventura College Foundation to support the Advanced Manufacturing program at Ventura College. The funds were used to relocate the current manufacturing lab to the college's Applied Science Center and to renovate the new location into a modern manufacturing facility designed to promote manufacturing occupations and enhance student workforce manufacturing skills.

HAAS Donation

"The primary mission of the Gene Haas Foundation is to partner with schools to introduce students to career opportunities in manufacturing and to provide scholarships to students who choose training in CNC (Computer Numerical Control) technology," says Kathy Looman, director of education and Gene Haas Centers naming rights. "Careers in manufacturing are rewarding, good-paying, and with limitless opportunities to climb the corporate ladder or become an entrepreneur. This new lab is an excellent opportunity to engage more students in our industry, and the Gene Haas Foundation is thrilled to see it become a reality."

The Advanced Manufacturing program is a combination of lecture and laboratory. Students use state-of-the-art Haas CNC machines as part of their hands-on learning experience to prepare themselves for entry into the workforce.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are over 26,000 manufacturing jobs in Ventura County. There could be more. Over 800 manufacturers are based in Ventura County, many with unfilled openings.

"The Gene Haas Advanced Manufacturing Lab will be the hub of manufacturing training in Ventura County," says John Clark, lead faculty with Ventura College's Manufacturing Technology Department. "Students will learn in-demand skills that will directly translate to local living wage jobs."

“One of the highlights from the Gene Haas Advanced Manufacturing Lab Grand Opening was seeing the 60 Ventura Unified School District high school students on the Ventura College campus to explore the manufacturing, welding, and drafting programs. The Advanced Manufacturing Program’s hands-on learning will prepare these students to enter high-wage jobs in our county. The program also helps meet our growing manufacturing workforce needs,” said Ventura County Community College District Chancellor Greg Gillespie.

An undergraduate curriculum is available for students interested in completing an associate's degree in Advanced Manufacturing. Students can also take transferable classes within the program for university credit or take courses for returning students looking for skills improvement.

The Ventura College Foundation facilitated and distributed the Gene Haas Foundation grant money to pay for the cost of the lab relocation and building upgrades.

HAAS Automation

"Our foundation has had a strong relationship with the Gene Haas Foundation for over 14 years. We are grateful for its continued support of Ventura College students," says Anne Paul King, Ventura College Foundation executive director. "Besides its generous donation to the advanced manufacturing lab, the Gene Haas Foundation funds an endowment that provides scholarships to students interested in manufacturing careers. Since 2005, the amount totals nearly $900,000."