Haas Collaborates in Arkansas Manufacturing Education Program

The program, taking place on college campuses, is focused on seventh through ninth grades.


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The Arkansas Chamber of Commerce (ASCC) and the Associated Industries of Arkansas (AIA) recently launched their 2016 Young Manufacturers Academies, taking place on nine two-year college campuses across Arkansas. The Academies have, since 2014, been presented in partnership with the Gene Haas Foundation. This year’s hosting schools have been awarded with a total of $105,000 to both host the Academies and offer scholarship funds to prospective college students. The Be Pro Be Proud Workshop is making stops at many of these Academies as it travels across the state during its tour. 

“The Young Manufacturers Academies are a valuable and important part of sharing with young people the opportunities that exist and the skill sets needed in today’s manufacturing world,” says Michael Garner, vice president of sales for the Haas Factory Outlet. “The Gene Haas Foundation has been one of the industry’s strongest advocates and has given in excess of $175,000 to workforce initiatives, including a recent $50,000 grant to support the Be Pro Be Proud initiative earlier this year. We are extremely grateful for the support of the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce in this important work.” 

On August 10, more than 300 seventh- through ninth-grade students began participating in the Young Manufacturers Academy program, which has a primary goal of growing and developing the manufacturing workforce pipeline in these middle grades, a critical juncture in need of particular attention, according to the ASCC.

"If we are to maintain a competitive edge in the global economy, the pipeline of students prepared to enter manufacturing careers must be increased,” says Randy Zook, ASCC president.

“Today's manufacturing world requires technology literacy, reasoning and problem-solving proficiencies,” says Mike Preston, executive director of the Arkansas Economic Development Commission, which collaborated on the project. “To accomplish this, students must have opportunities to participate in hands-on experiences with manufacturing-related activities that are contemporary, driven by the field and STEM-rich.”

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