Machine Tool Technology students receive $20K grant

he+Gene+Haas+foundation+has+provided+scholarships+and+machines+for+the+students+of+the+Machine+Tool+Technology+department%2C+including+a+recent+%2420K+grant.+The+machine+is+used+to+create+keychains+on+March+2%2C+2020.+Photo+credit%3A+Kianna+Znika

he Gene Haas foundation has provided scholarships and machines for the students of the Machine Tool Technology department, including a recent $20K grant. The machine is used to create keychains on March 2, 2020. Photo credit: Kianna Znika

Kianna Znika, Editor in chief

The Machine Tool Technology program at Cerritos College recently received a $20,000 grant for scholarships from the Gene Haas Foundation, which will be used as reward to encourage student success and future enrollment.

Chuong H. Vo, Department Chair of Machine Tool Technology, stated that the scholarships require the student to complete and pass at least three classes within the program and submit an essay explaining future plans.

“We feel it’s more beneficial,” Vo said. “They have to earn it. We’d rather reward it.”

The scholarships are stated to be about $250 that go straight into the student’s hands. The student can then use that money for anything that may support their Machine Technology career, including textbooks.

Another $100 may be given to students once they have received their certificate.

“We give small to support more,” Vo said, explaining that the program would rather award more of its students with a smaller reward than hand out large scholarships to only a select few.

The department chair also explained that the program is encouraging young people to pursue Machine Technology since the field is losing many workers due to retirement.

“[You] can work in almost any industry,” Vo said. “We’re not directly making the product; We’re making the machine that makes it.”

Parker Rivera, a Machine Tool Technology student, further explained that training in machine tools can lead to several jobs, including parts inspection, engineering and creating programs.

“Get into machine maintenance without getting dirty,” Rivera said. “There are several clean jobs available.”

Antonio Martinez, another student within Machine Tool Technology, said he’s learned many skills within his three years of taking classes, including software programming and machine operating.

With these machines, Martinez, Rivera, and the students within the program are able to work on many creative projects of their choice, such as creating miniature baseball bat keychains.

Rivera explained that every machine the students work on is from the Gene Haas Foundation.

“Haas has been very generous with this program,” he said. “More machines for more people.”

According to a Cerritos College press release on Feb. 21, “The Gene Haas Foundation has donated $20,000 in 2018 and $25,000 in 2016.

“We are grateful for the Gene Haas Foundation’s continued support,” Vo said.

Haas Automation, Inc. is the country’s largest machine tool manufacturer.

The Machine Tool Technology department at Cerritos College teaches about 200 students each semester and is one of only a few programs in Southern California that offers machine tool training.