Haas Partners with Louisiana Community College System

The partnership will bring Haas five-axis universal machining centers to 12 Louisiana community and technical colleges, upskilling the state’s manufacturing workforce.


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In celebration of MFG Day on October 2, 2020, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards announced a partnership with Haas Automation in which Louisiana will become the first state in the U.S. to install advanced Haas five-axis machining centers at every community and technical college in the state. In an effort to bolster manufacturing in the state, Louisiana Economic Development’s LED FastStart program has partnered with the Louisiana Community and Technical College System (LCTCS) to purchase 12 Haas UMC-500 five-axis universal machining centers for 12 area community and technical colleges. All 12 machines are being supplied by the local Haas Factory Outlet, a Division of Trident Southeast in Lafayette, Louisiana. Also supporting the initiative is the Gene Haas Foundation (GHF), which will provide scholarships to train teachers and educate students.

“Louisiana wants to be known as a global leader in manufacturing,” Gov. Edwards said. “And that is why we are investing in the highest-quality manufacturing equipment on our LCTCS campuses to ensure our future workforce is an outstandingly well-prepared workforce. We are proud to team with Haas to create this first-in-the-nation partnership.”

Since 2008, LED FastStart has delivered half a million hours of training to more than 31,000 employees of 226 expanding companies in Louisiana. In some cases, FastStart training protocols developed for a Louisiana location have been adopted globally by corporations.

“This partnership is really unprecedented,” states Toni Neary, director of education for HFO/Trident Southeast. “LED FastStart is stepping up to not only provide industry leading five-axis machining centers, they’re 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.”

LED FastStart recognizes that more and more manufacturers are investing in five-axis machining technology to reduce costs, increase productivity and improve part quality. However, advanced skills are required to operate this advanced level of technology, so workforce development is key. By upskilling Louisiana’s manufacturing workforce, LED FastStart hopes to attract a wider spectrum of manufacturers, including aerospace, automotive and medical, to a state which has been heavily reliant on the energy sector for high-paying jobs.