Foundation Grant Spurs
Opening of eKAMI
Executive Director, Kathy Walker worked diligently for months to facilitate a partnership between the Gene Haas Foundation and the Commonwealth of Kentucky. As Walker worked to have a Haas Technical Education Center (HTEC) established in Paintsville, she learned a lot about Gene Haas. Gene’s’ life is about as close to an all-American success story as you can get. During his college years he spent his summers working in a machine shop. After graduation, he operated and programmed CNC (Computer Numerical Controlled) Lathe machines. During that time, and later as owner of his own machine shop, he came up with a “better mousetrap.” Eventually, Haas and a partner would design and build a more intuitive and user-friendly machine, the Haas CNC Lathe. Mr. Haas began selling his new lathe, and and today is America’s #1 manufacturer of machine tool equipment.
As the company grew, Haas began to realize that demand for his machines was being limited by a shortage of workers who possessed the skills needed to operate them. He decided to take an active role and to make a significant financial commitment to helping highly motivated workers acquire those skills. From that determination, the Haas Foundation was born. The primary goal of the Foundation is to establish Advanced Manufacturing Institutes that will graduate job-ready CNC machinists.
Today, Haas is the top American manufacturer of CNC machine tools and is also well known in the motorsports arena, where he founded NASCAR’s Stewart-Haas Racing and Formula One team.
The opportunity we present today will positively impact the economy and people of Eastern Kentucky for generations to come. In order for this region to prosper, it must have a highly trained workforce capable of competing in the 21st century. The key building blocks of growing jobs and strengthening Eastern Kentucky’s economy are education and workforce development. If we truly believe this and work together, we will make it happen.