July 07, 2022

Sedalia, Missouri  July 7, 2022 –State Fair Community College Foundation received a $350,000 donation from the Gene Haas Foundation for the college’s Stronger Workforce, Greater Community capital campaign to fund the Olen Howard Workforce Innovation Center. This new building, which opened on June 9 on the Sedalia campus, expands the college’s capacity to meet the growing demand for technical workforce training and strengthen the communities it serves.  

The check presentation took place in the new Howard Center in front of one of two Haas 750SS, a high-precision five-axis computer numerical cutting machines in the precision machining lab. SFCC is the only workforce training facility in Missouri to have this kind of CNC machine on which to train future machinists and for training trainers from across the United States. 

SFCC’s relationship with the Gene Haas Foundation developed about seven years ago when the college purchased nine CNC machines for its machining program from Haas Automation, Inc., headquartered in Oxnard, California. The company, founded by Gene Haas in 1983, is the largest machine tool builder in the western world, manufacturing a complete line of CNC vertical machining centers, horizontal machine centers, CNC lathes, and rotary products.  

The Gene Haas Foundation is the private foundation of Gene Haas. The foundation’s mission is to introduce young people to manufacturing careers and provide assistance in their education and training should they chose this career pathway.  The foundation does this by sponsoring competitions that highlight manufacturing such as SkillsUSA, Project MFG and FIRST robotics. Kathy Looman, the Gene Haas Foundation’s director of education grant programs, stated the foundation also provides scholarships and capital grants to help grow the very best CNC training programs, which is why the Gene Haas Foundation chose State Fair Community College as a recipient

“The support SFCC has received from the Gene Haas Foundation over the years has been phenomenal,” said Mary Treuner SFCC Foundation executive director. “This foundation has provided scholarship funds that have helped our precision machining students pay for college, so we are very honored by the gifts and thankful for its help in providing relevant and responsive training for building a stronger workforce. A section of the precision machining lab will be named in honor of the Gene Haas Foundation in recognition of its dedication to workforce training and its support of our students.” 

 The campaign, Stronger Workforce, Greater Community: A Capital Campaign for the Olen Howard Workforce Innovation Center and Center for Excellence began in December 2020. The new center sits on the site of SFCC’s original buildings, affectionately known as Plywood U. Information about the project and how to contribute is available at www.sfccmo.edu/OHWIC.   

The new workforce training center adds more space for labs and classrooms for the welding and precision machining programs. The next phase of the capital campaign involves renovations to Fielding Technical Center that will provide a Center for Excellence for industrial technology, leadership and supervisory skills and logistics training; space for the new pre-apprenticeship program; and a climate, refrigeration and energy control (HVAC) lab, and an advanced manufacturing and robotics lab. 

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