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On National Manufacturing Day October 6 Sierra College Opens GENE HAAS CENTER for Advanced Manufacturing by Design

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In response to manufacturers in the Sacramento region, Sierra College has opened the GENE HAAS CENTER for Advanced Manufacturing by Design at the Rocklin campus. The Grand Opening celebration will be held on National Manufacturing Day, Friday, October 6 at 11 am with a ribbon cutting ceremony.

Peter Zierhut, Vice President, HAAS Automation and Kathy Looman, Foundation Administrator, Gene Haas Foundation, will present the college with a check for $300,000 to enhance the Advanced Manufacturing Career Pathway for students. Two Haas Formula 1 and NASCAR showcars will be on display demonstrating the end use of high performance parts milled on Haas CNC machines. Afterwards, lab tours will be offered and students will demonstrate using the Haas tools.

Kathy Looman, Foundation Administrator, Gene Haas Foundation, indicated that just a few years ago there were no CNC training programs anywhere in the Sacramento Valley which is a prime region for manufacturing to grow and impact the prosperity of the community. “This Gene Haas Center for Advanced Manufacturing by Design is such an awesome accomplishment,” said Looman.

“Gene Haas Foundation applauds the opening this new center at Sierra College focused on the manufacturing industry pipeline both through the skilled trades as well as a pathway to higher education. The dedicated individuals who made this all happen are developing an adept talent pool for the California and United States economies. We are honored to be one cog in this assembly of this partnership that personifies all that the Gene Haas Foundation endeavors to see accomplished in communities across our great country.”

Advanced manufacturing technology uses Computer Numeric Controlled (CNC) machine tools, such as Haas, which are controlled through computer commands created in Computer Aided Modeling (CAM) software programs. The rapid change tooling in Haas machines shapes materials such as steel, titanium and copper in three-, four- and five-axis with incredible speed and accuracy. CNC machining operators are in high demand according to the college’s industry advisors, and offer excellent pay and career opportunities. Sierra College students will learn to both program and operate the Haas tools, which will increase their value to employers, enable them to earn higher salaries and accelerate their careers.

The idea for this center started two years ago when Sierra College purchased two HAAS machines, and then this year the college developed a new instructional program and built a lab with 10 HAAS VF Milling machines using funding provided through the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office Strong Workforce Initiative, explained Willy Duncan, Sierra College Superintendent/President.

“We are honored to receive this tremendous support from the Gene Haas Foundation and to celebrate with them on National Manufacturing Day,” said Duncan. “Over the next three years, Sierra College will make a significant investment to add tools and fully develop the Advanced Manufacturing Career Pathway. We are grateful for the strong partnership with employers who are interested in hiring our graduates as well as with Rocklin High School Engineering Support Technology, which provides an excellent CNC machine program at the high school level.”

Keith Granno, Regional VP, Selway Machine Tool, indicated that the manufacturing sector is growing in this region and Sierra College is perfectly positioned to supply graduates. “With the addition of the Gene Haas Center at Sierra College, the Sacramento region will have one of the highest concentrations of Haas machines in the country at colleges and high schools preparing students for advanced manufacturing careers,” said Granno.

Titan Gilroy, CEO, TITANS of CNC, based in Rocklin, says that manufacturing changed his life and he is committed to sharing his expertise with Sierra College. “TITANS of CNC fully supports the expansion of the Sierra College manufacturing program,” said Gilroy. “The college is not just my neighbor; it is also a provider of skilled workers for companies like mine. I’ve volunteered my services to consult with the college on the right machines, software and techniques to take the manufacturing program to the highest level.”

According to the Sierra College Welding Department Chair, Bill Wenzel, the program is well on its way. “Forty students are enrolled in two classes being offered for the first time in this semester,” said Wenzel. “They are using the Haas CNC machines in the new Advanced Manufacturing Lab. We also hired four additional instructors for the program this fall.”

The new GENE HAAS CENTER for Advanced Manufacturing by Design will host the 12th Northern California Fall HTEC Conference beginning the afternoon on October 6 and continuing for educators on Saturday, October 7, explained Steve Dicus, Advanced Manufacturing Deputy Sector Navigator for the North Far North region of California Community Colleges, housed at Sierra College.

“Montez King, Interim Executive Director, National Institute for Metalworking Skills will be the keynote presenter, giving ‘The National View of Manufacturing,’” said Dicus. “Over 50 high school and college faculty members will learn the latest industry techniques from AutoDesk, Haas and Selway representatives and see the HAAS VF machines and the Omax 5 axis waterjet operating.”

Sierra College invites the public to attend the GENE HAAS CENTER for Advanced Manufacturing by Design ribbon cutting on October 6 at 11 am and take a tour. Students can sign up for spring Advanced Manufacturing and Design classes starting in November. For more information, go to https://www.sierracollege.edu/academics/divisions/cte/advanced-manuf.php.

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