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VHCC Precision Machining Program Receives $15k Grant from Gene Haas Foundation

Post Date:12/17/2019 11:00 AM
VHCC students, faculty and staff gather in the machine shop.ABINGDON, Va. – The Gene Haas Foundation of Oxnard, California, has provided a $15,000 grant to support Precision Machining students at Virginia Highlands Community College. The funds will be used to provide each of the program’s 24 students with a $500 stipend.

“The Haas Foundation has supported VHCC’s machining students for several years through grants and consultation,” VHCC Assistant Professor of Machine Technology Johnnie Keene said. “We use Haas machines in our shop to make sure students become expert machinists who are familiar with some of the best equipment in the industry.”

VHCC’s machine lab is equipped with three HAAS TL1 lathes, two TM1P machining centers and four HAAS simulators. In addition to the Haas machines, students use manual lathes, mills, saws, grinders and Mazak CNC machines in a state-of-the-art lab designed to teach all of the skills and techniques required by the region’s employers for new machinists.

“We’re certainly grateful for industry partners like the Gene Haas Foundation,” said VP of Instruction & Student Services Dr. Stacy E. Thomas. “The grants and industry advice they provide ensure that our students are among the most qualified in the region.”

Founded in 1999 by one of the United States’ premier builders of CNC machine tools, the Gene Haas Foundation provides grants to training facilities for machinists as well as scholarships for students seeking to become machinists.

VHCC’s Precision Machining program can be completed in two semesters. Students learn blueprint reading, manual machining skills, and basic Computer Numeric Controlled (CNC) processes. An optional third semester provides advanced training in CNC machining techniques. Additionally, VHCC is projected to begin offering an Associate of Computer Numerical Control Machine Operations degree in the fall of 2020.

About Virginia Highlands Community College
Virginia Highlands Community College is one of the 23 comprehensive community colleges in the Virginia Community College System. VHCC has become a dynamic leader in Southwest Virginia with a primary goal of providing comprehensive and quality education and related services for residents throughout its region. We proudly serve the residents of Bristol Virginia, Washington County and the western portion of Smyth County. The College is committed to teaching, learning & community building, and serves more than 2500 students, offering more than 80 academic areas of study.