LOWELL, MA — A small ceremony was recently held at the Francis College of Engineering at UMass Lowell to present a $40,000 grant from the Gene Haas Foundation. Presenting the check was William Weir, Regional Sales Manager for Trident Machine Tools, the New England Haas Factory Outlet. Accepting the check was Dr. Joseph C. Hartman, Dean of the Francis College of Engineering, Glenn J. Sundberg, Ph. D, Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Sally Washburn, Director of Development and five students, each of whom will receive scholarship money as a result of the GHF grant.
The Francis College of Engineering at UMass Lowell has a proud heritage, spanning more than a century, for providing an outstanding, practical and affordable engineering education and a growing portfolio of research and innovation. In total, there is broad number of degree programs at the College. The largest is the traditional four-year bachelors engineering program, with some 2500 undergraduate students, 800 of which are studying mechanical engineering and another 200 in plastics engineering, specifically mold making, mold design and machining.
According to Dr. Joseph C. Hartman, Dean of the Francis College of Engineering, “We’ve seen and continue to see strong growth, with mechanical engineering far exceeding other areas as the leader in this growth. We’ve probably doubled our growth in engineering in the last five to six years, especially among the adult-learning portion of our student demographic.
“These are people who are working for a variety of firms that have in common a manufacturing base. We see adults coming to us for associate and bachelors degrees in engineering. There’s strong interest by local firms to encourage manufacturing employees to return and acquire the specialties suddenly needed to compete in advanced manufacturing — typically involving 4- and 5-axis machining. The Haas machining centers acquired in the past year provide a bridge between where these students are now and where they need to be in the real world of competitive machining and manufacturing.
The College is also a great platform for younger people just entering the job market. Here, they can acquire in a real-time, hands-on fashion a vast array of engineering technologies. This is especially true of those pursuing a four-year mechanical engineering program. This group, the younger student lacking many of the skills needed to succeed in the market, is the group that the $40,000 grant from the Gene Haas Foundation will help — especially in tuition assistance. The older students usually have a job that will cover or contribute to his or her tuition.
“The university goes back to the late 1800s,” Hartman says, “the six Haas machines arrived late last year, and our first training class started soon after. We literally hit the ground running and, as our continued growth clearly demonstrates, we’re running still. While we’re constantly changing our curriculum as need requires, our mission remains steady, to apply engineering theory to practical manufacturing needs. We provide the tools, knowledge and experience for our graduates to take the next (or first) step up, whether they’re returning refreshed to a current job or just entering the market place.”
The all-new Maker Space at UMASS Lowell is located it what was previously a university book store. Today the space is filled with advanced manufacturing equipment, including three Haas Mini Mill vertical machining centers and three Haas ST-10 CNC turning centers. “Later in the afternoon and evening, this space becomes extremely active because it’s not only educational space, it’s student project space for testing and designing using a variety of different technologies,” states Glenn J. Sundberg, Ph. D, Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering.
In addition to the six Haas machines located in the Umass Lowell Maker Space, a specially equipped Haas VF-4SS super-speed vertical machining center was added to an all-new Plastic Engineering lab a few floors above. The Haas VF-4SS offers students enrolled in a moldmaking program to machine complex molds as part of their curriculum. A Wittmann Battenfeld plastic injection machine is also included within the lab offering students a real world experience where they design and manufacture a part complete.
About UMass Lowell
UMass Lowell is a national research university located on a high-energy campus in the heart of a global community. The university offers its more than 17,000 students bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in business, education, engineering, fine arts, health, humanities, sciences and social sciences. UMass Lowell delivers high-quality educational programs, vigorous hands-on learning and personal attention from leading faculty and staff, all of which prepare graduates to be ready for work, for life and for all the world offers. To learn more visit www.uml.edu
About the Gene Haas Foundation
In 1999 Gene Haas founded the Gene Haas Foundation and to date, more than 1200 charitable (501 C 3) organizations and schools have received funds totaling more than 38 million dollars from the Gene Haas Foundation. A recent report called “The Skills Gap in U.S. Manufacturing 2015 and Beyond” projects that, “Over the next decade, nearly three and a half million manufacturing jobs will likely need to be filled, and the skills gap is expected to result in two million of those jobs going unfilled.” Haas’ commitment to the importance of US manufacturing has incited him to grow his personal foundation and direct his foundation board to focus on manufacturing education in the form of scholarships for CNC machinist training. To learn more about the Gene Haas Foundation, contact Kathy Looman at [email protected] or visit www.ghaasfoundation.org.
Trident Machine Tools is the New England Haas Factory Outlet and is part of the Morris Group, Inc, one of the largest suppliers of manufacturing technology in North America. To learn more about Haas products, contact Jeff Boulden at [email protected] or visit www.hfotrident.com.