Gene Haas Foundation donates $250,000 to Ventura College Foundation to support advanced manufacturing program

Jordan Whitfield, Haas Automation, Kurt Zierhut, Haas Automation, Peter Zierhut, Haas Automation, John Clark, Ventura College lead faculty, Manufacturing Technology, Dr. Kim Hoffmans, Ventura College president and Anne Paul King, Ventura College Foundation executive director at the check donation.

The Gene Haas Foundation has made a $250,000 grant award to the Ventura College Foundation to support the Advanced Manufacturing program at Ventura College. These funds will be used to relocate the current manufacturing lab to the college’s Applied Science Center and renovate the new location into a modern manufacturing facility designed to promote manufacturing occupations and enhance student workforce manufacturing skills.

Once renovations are completed, the lab will be renamed the Gene Haas Advanced Manufacturing Lab. Ventura College plans to offer manufacturing courses in the lab’s new home starting in fall 2020.

In addition, Oxnard-based Haas Automation Inc., one of the world’s largest machine tool builders, will entrust the manufacturing program with a Haas ST-10 Series lathe. “The Manufacturing Technology Department offers the opportunity for students to excel by providing training in both lecture and laboratory settings. With the addition of the Haas lathe, students will now increase their hands-on experience with industry quality machinery, greatly improving their readiness for the workforce,” says John Clark, lead faculty with Ventura College’s Manufacturing Technology Department.

“Haas Automation and the Gene Haas Foundation are happy to help technical education excel throughout Ventura County,” says Kurt Zierhut, Gene Haas Foundation executive manager.

An undergraduate curriculum is available for students interested in working toward the completion of proficiency awards in CNC Operation and Manufacturing Applications. Students can also take transferable classes for university credit and general interest courses for returning students looking for skills improvement.

“Industry-education partnerships such as Haas Automation and Ventura College are critically important. There are over 800 manufacturers in Ventura County. Many have unfilled positions because of the difficulty in finding skilled workers,” says Rob van Nieuwburg, Ventura College Foundation board chair. “Ventura College’s expanded program will help close the skills gap by providing local manufacturers with workers who have the capability to do what’s needed on day one of a new job. The program will attract more students who seek a career in a stimulating high-tech environment while earning a very good living wage.”

For information about the program, go to For more on the Ventura College Foundation, go to or call 805-289-6461.

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