Campus & Community

Gene Haas Foundation keeps up aid for machining students

Gene Haas Foundation presents check to Machining Technology program
At the check presentation ceremony Nov. 7 in PBSC’s machine shop, from left: Lynnmarie Gomes Highsmith, PBSC program director; Scott Darner, service and applications manager, Trident; Robert Bissonnette, PBSC machining instructor; Kyle Biggio, machining student; Gus Lozana, account manager, Haas Factory Outlet; Matthew Dalton, machining student; Dr. Jean Wihbey, PBSC vice president of workforce development, Victor Perez, Haas integrations engineer; and David Rutherford, vice president, Institutional Advancement and executive director, PBSC Foundation.

Palm Beach State College’s Machining Technology Program has once again received a scholarship grant from the Gene Haas Foundation. The $10,000 grant will enable more students to gain in-demand skills.

The scholarship grant is the third award that PBSC has received from the foundation, following awards in 2015 and 2017, bringing the total to $50,000. As in past years, the award will help defray the educational expenses of students in the 1500 clock-hour postsecondary adult vocational program, which typically costs about $4,400.00 for in-state students.

“We’re so grateful to Haas for supporting our students’ success and helping to make Machining Technology a program of excellence,” said Dr. Jean A. Wihbey, PBSC’s vice president of workforce development. “Without industry professionals supporting the College, we can’t be our very best.”

Gus Lozana, account manager for Haas Factory Outlet, presented the symbolic oversized check at a gathering in the program’s machine shop on the Lake Worth campus Wednesday. He applauded the program, noting that PBSC students learn all aspects of machining and how to operate everything from manual equipment to advanced computer numerical control (CNC) machines, a depth of training that he considers unique.

“You don’t get that anywhere,” Lozana said. “Having this program in this area is phenomenal because a lot of these kids that graduate from here go to work for my customers, so I’ll see them at every shop that I go to. They’re functioning—they’re making parts and making money for the companies.”

Machining Students
Students Matt Crews and Israel Brown at the controls of a Haas CNC lathe machine in PBSC’s machine shop on the Lake Worth campus.

Machinists are at the core of manufacturing. These highly skilled, well-paid individuals produce precision machine parts for many industries, including aerospace, computer, medical device and automotive. PBSC’s program has one of the best machine shops in the state and features top-of-the-line Haas Automation CNC lathes and milling machines used throughout the industry.

“We’ve had businesses come in here and they’re amazed at the setup. Their shops aren’t even like this,” said Robert Bissonnette, PBSC machining instructor.

Lynnmarie Gomes Highsmith, program director, agreed. “Due to our impressive shop and reputation, students find us from all over South Florida and the Treasure Coast.”

In 2012, the Machining Technology Program became the second program in the state and the first at a Florida state college to be accredited by the National Institute for Metalworking Skills. It currently has 15 students in the day program and 15 students in the night program, the maximum capacity. The program takes about 15 months to complete.

For more information about the Machining Technology Program, visit www.palmbeachstate.edu/programs/Machining.

Machining Students-Haas Check
Holding the check, Haas representatives Scott Darner, Gus Lozana and Victor Perez are welcomed by Machining Technology students (from left) David Fay, Sunny Chen, Jonathan Maese, Kyle Biggio, Matthew Dalton, Israel Brown, Matt Crews and Wayne Muller.
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