Louisiana’s Workforce Leader to Acquire 12 Haas UMC-500s to Bolster Manufacturing

Los Angles, USA - Louisiana Economic Development’s LED FastStart® program partners with Louisiana Community and Technical College System (LCTCS) to acquire 12 Haas UMC-500 5-Axis Universal Machining Centers, to meet Louisiana’s current and future manufacturing challenges. Also supporting the initiative is the Gene Haas Foundation (GHF), which will provide tuition scholarships to train teachers and educate students to program and operate the UMC-500, which is powered by the latest Next-Generation Control from Haas. These 12 Haas machines are meant for Community and technical colleges throughout the states of the USA as part of the LED’s FastStart initiative. All the machines are being supplied by the local Haas Factory Outlet, A Division of Trident Southeast, based in Lafayette, LA.

LED FastStart® has delivered a half-million hours of training to more than 31,000 employees of 226 expanding companies in the state since 2008. In certain cases, FastStart training protocols developed for a Louisiana location have been adopted globally by corporations. Concluding that workforce development is key and thus upskilling Louisiana’s manufacturing workforce, LED hopes to attract a wider spectrum of manufacturers, including aerospace, automotive, and medical, to a state that has been heavily reliant on the energy sector for high-paying jobs.

The list of schools selected to receive a Haas UMC-500 include the following: Baton Rouge Community College, Bossier Parish Community College, Central Louisiana Technical Community College, Delgado Community College, Fletcher Technical Community College, Louisiana Delta Community College, Northshore Technical Community College, Northwest Louisiana Technical College, Nunez Community College, River Parishes Community College, South Louisiana Community College – Young Memorial Campus, and SOWELA Technical Community College. This will be their first CNC machine tool, for many of these schools. GHF will also be offering scholarships to students attending programs at these schools. Gene Haas, founder of Haas Automation, established the Gene Haas Foundation in 1999 and in the past 5 years alone, has awarded more than 65 million dollars to schools and student organizations.

Made in California, USA at Haas Automation, UMC-500 fills the need for manufacturers looking for a compact, high-performance, 5-axis machining center that is affordable and easy to operate. This machine is larger than a typical 3-axis milling machine, features a 400 mm platter on an integrated 2-axis trunnion rotary table that offers 145° & 360° of rotation on the B- & C-axis respectively.

“Keeping Louisiana’s community and technical colleges equipped with the latest technology allows us to train individuals for advanced manufacturing jobs. A highly skilled workforce positions our state as both an attractive location for industry, and a training leader. Through our partnership with Haas, we are now the first state in the U.S. to provide an all-in-one, 5-axis CNC machining training centers at every one of our community and technical colleges. There is a great demand for these high-wage skill sets in aerospace, automotive, and other manufacturing settings. This win-win partnership clearly demonstrates why LED FastStart ranks No. 1 among all state workforce training programs,” elaborated Paul Helton, LED FastStart® Executive Director.

“LED FastStart has been a tremendous partner for Louisiana’s community and technical colleges for many years and this strategic investment in our schools and our people is yet another example of their commitment to talent and workforce development,” explained Monty Sullivan, President, LCTCS, on impact of the program. “Advanced Manufacturing remains an in-demand and high-wage profession. Providing 12 new 5-Axis Universal Machining Centers to our colleges is a game-changer for our instructors, students, and industry partners. Training on the latest state-of-the-art equipment will give students a competitive advantage in entering the workforce. We are grateful to LED FastStart and the Gene Haas Foundation for their generosity.”

“This partnership is really unprecedented,” stated Toni Neary, Director - Education for HFO/Trident Southeast, on the collaboration of the program and the state education bodies. “LED FastStart is stepping up to not only provide industry-leading 5-axis machining centers, but they’re also covering the costs for all necessary tooling, workholding, and rigging, making this a turnkey installation for each school. We’re also excited that the Gene Haas Foundation is jumping on board by providing scholarships for teachers and students to get this program off the ground.”

“Only a few short years ago, 5-axis machine technology was cost-prohibitive for many manufacturers, and even more so for technical colleges,” added Scott Myre, President - HFO/Trident Southeast. “The UMC-500 is a game-changer, due to its size, and $125,000 base price. Now, almost any machine shop can afford to upgrade to 5-axis, so the demand for skilled operators is higher than ever and growing.”

Image Source: Haas Automation

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