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Gene Haas Foundation Donates $1 Million to the SME Education Foundation for Machining and Manufacturing Scholarships

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Funds will help students in United States, Canada, Mexico, Europe and South Africa

DEARBORN, Mich., OXNARD, Calif., (August 19, 2013) — The Gene Haas Foundation continued its commitment to education and training today by making a gift of $1 million for scholarships in manufacturing and machining training and education to benefit as many as 1,000 students in North America, Europe and South Africa. In a ceremony next to the Haas Technical Education Center on the Glendale (Calif.) Community College campus, Gene Haas Foundation Board Chair Bob Murray presented a check to Kathy Burnham of the SME Education Foundation, which will administer the scholarship fund.

“Manufacturing is an industry that is vital to the U.S. and global economy. We are very proud to help build a qualified workforce, especially as so many people are in need of good-paying jobs. In the U.S. alone, more than 600,000 jobs go unfilled due to a lack of skilled workers. These scholarships will ready people for high-paying manufacturing careers, so they can support their families and pursue the American Dream,” said Murray to a crowd of nearly 100 business and community leaders.

The Gene Haas Foundation was created by Gene Haas, founder of Haas Automation, the largest and most modern machine tool builder in the western world. Approximately 1,200 workers with above-average wages and generous benefits are employed at the company’s Oxnard (Calif.) campus. Gene Haas remains the company’s principal innovator and engineer, working daily on product design and operations. “His vision is a sustainable workforce and creating opportunity for disadvantaged youth, among others,” noted Murray.

“Our goal is to lead by example and help those in need. Workforce development is a key way to improve the lives of many while helping build a stronger economy for all,” Murray said. “The SME Education Foundation will ensure these scholarships help many communities and support many students.”

Scholarships range from $1,000 to $2,500 depending on the cost of applicant’s program. The funds are sent directly to the recipient’s school according to Bart A. Aslin, CEO, SME Education Foundation.

“As we work to dispel the myth that people with four-year degrees automatically make more money than those without, we recognize the importance of creating educational pathways that allow all students the chance to earn a good living but also to fill the manufacturing gaps that exist; funding for programs like the Gene Haas Machining Technology Scholarship allows us to do just that,” Aslin concluded.

The application process is online and opens on September 1, 2013. The SME Education Foundation expects to award 950 to 1,000 scholarships this year, exhausting the $1,000,000 grant.

To be eligible, applicants must be pursuing an associate’s degree or technology certificate and have a high school diploma or GED certificate. Displaced workers or people training for a second career are also eligible.

A scholarship committee reviews the applications as they are submitted to ensure the minimum eligibility requirements are met. All applicants meeting the requirements will be awarded a scholarship, as long as funding is available.

About the Gene Haas Foundation
Founded by Gene Haas, the foundation has awarded more than $15 million to deserving charities since 1999. It was formed to fund the needs of the local community and other deserving charities, and has expanded to provide scholarships for students entering technical training programs, especially machinist-based certificate and degree programs at community colleges and vocational schools. To date, more than 800 charitable organizations have received funds from the Gene Haas Foundation. For more information, visit ghaasfoundation.org.

About the SME Education Foundation
The SME Education Foundation is committed to inspiring, preparing and supporting the next generation of manufacturing engineers and technologists in the advancement of manufacturing education. Created by SME in 1979, the SME Education Foundation has provided more than $33 million since 1980 in grants, scholarships and awards through its partnerships with corporations, organizations, foundations and individual donors.

For more information about the SME Education Foundation, visit smeef.org. Also visit CareerMe.org for information on advanced manufacturing careers and ManufacturingisCool.com, an award-winning website for young people. For an application: smeef.org/scholarships.

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If you have questions about the press release or need additional information, please contact SME Public Relations at communications@sme.org.