Gene Haas Foundation donates $12,500 to South Georgia Technical College Foundation

Published 1:47 pm Thursday, November 9, 2023

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   The Gene Haas Foundation donated $12,500 to the South Georgia Technical College Foundation recently to support Precision Machining and Manufacturing scholarships and student competition teams highlighting the CNC/Manufacturing programs such as SkillsUSA and SAE teams.

   Haas Automation, Inc., which manufactures economical and reliable machine tools, is known as America’s Machine Tool Builder.  Gene Haas founded Haas Automation, Inc. in 1983 and this company is currently the largest machine tool builder in the western world.

   Haas’ commitment to US manufacturing led to the development of his foundation that focuses on granting funds to help expand Machining and CNC Technology programs. The billion-dollar company is working to help eliminate the skills gap in U.S. Manufacturing. According to “The Skills Gap in U.S. Manufacturing 2015 and Beyond” report “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 two million of those jobs going unfilled. His foundation focuses on providing scholarships for CNC machinist training.

   “South Georgia Technical College and the South Georgia Technical Foundation are very appreciative of this grant,” said SGTC President Dr. John Watford. “This grant will enhance our current Precision Machining and Manufacturing program in many ways, the biggest will be in providing scholarships for those students who are interested in this career but need financial support. It will also provide additional resources for sponsorship of our manufacturing students to compete at events such as SkillsUSA.”

   South Georgia Technical College’s Precision Machining and Manufacturing Program students took bronze medals in the SkillsUSA National Additive Manufacturing competition in 2021.  Tison Smith of Leesburg, GA and Patrick Hortman of Ellaville, GA were the SkillsUSA Gold medal winners from Georgia and then finished third in the nation at the national event. Chad Brown is the SGTC Precision Machining and Manufacturing instructor.

   SGTC has had other top finishers in the SkillsUSA competitions over the past three years.  Charles Westra and Tison Smith earned the right to advance to the SkillsUSA national competition in 2019 as the first-place finishers in the Georgia SkillsUSA contest. They finished sixth in the nation.  The 2020 SkillsUSA competition was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Kelli Rees of Ellaville represented the Precision Machining and Manufacturing Program in the state SkillsUSA competition in 2022.

    “Our students are offered jobs in this industry within weeks of starting this program,” explained SGTC Instructor Chad Brown.  “There is a great need for CNC operators and programmers. Students with a basic understanding of these machines and concepts can go to work while they continue their education.”

   The Precision Machining and Manufacturing Program at South Georgia Tech develops academic, technical, and professional knowledge and skills that emphasizes a combination of machine tool theory and practical application. Students learn print reading, lathe operations, mill operation, CNC Fundamentals and more. Day and evening classes are available.

   For more information about the South Georgia Technical College Precision Machining and Manufacturing Program contact Instructor Chad Brown at 229-931-2573 or