Gene Haas Check Presentation With College Officials And Students DSC4162

Press Release                                                                                                                                                   
February 28, 2024
Karen Potter,

(By Lisa Garrett)

Gene Haas Foundation presents $500,000 donation to TCTC Foundation in support of CNC program

PENDLETON, SC – Today (February 28), the Gene Haas Foundation presented a $500,000 donation to Tri-County Technical College’s (TCTC) Foundation to support and enhance the College’s Computer Numerical Controls (CNC) Programming and Operations program and its CNC Advanced Manufacturing Lab at the Industrial Technology Center (ITC).

The CNC lab is now named the Gene Haas Advanced Manufacturing Lab.

The Haas Foundation was established in 1999 by Gene Haas, founder and owner of Haas Automation, Inc., to support the needs of the local community through grants. Seeing a growing need for skilled manufacturing employees industry-wide, the Haas Foundation expanded its mission to include support for manufacturing training programs throughout North America and beyond. 

The Haas Foundation is a longtime supporter of TCTC’s manufacturing programs, and this is the company’s most generous gift to date. Since 2015, they have donated $465,000 in support of CNC student scholarships and certifications, bringing their giving total to nearly $1 million.

In recognition of their generosity, the TCTC Foundation presented the Haas Foundation with the 2024 Philanthropist of the Year award. This award is presented annually to an individual, foundation, company, trust, organization, or other entity that has made significant financial contributions to the College.

“This significant gift will continue to strengthen TCTC’s solid manufacturing programs and aid in the College’s commitment to training a skilled workforce,” said Courtney White, executive director of the TCTC Foundation. Specifically, this donation will help provide state-of-the-art CNC equipment and a learning lab replicating today’s workplace.

“Tri-County Technical College developed the CNC Programming and Operations program in collaboration with local industry to meet current and emerging workforce needs,” said TCTC President Dr. Galen DeHay. “Regional labor market data reveals significant growth over the next decade in machining jobs that require a post­secondary credential.” Manufacturing remains the highest-growing industry in Anderson, Oconee, and Pickens counties, with manufacturing jobs expected to grow by 23% in the next 10 years. “It is vital that TCTC attract and train enough machinists to meet the demands of local manufacturers,” he said.

“Our advisory committee has validated the ongoing and long-term workforce needs, and we have developed partnerships with local school districts to create a dual enrollment pathway into the CNC Programming and Operations degree. In addition, we offer rapid entry and incumbent worker training for our local industry training in CNC and related technology. Our industry and school partnerships, as well as our investment in equipment, demonstrate the College's commitment to growing our CNC program,” said Dr. Mandy Elmore, assistant vice president of curriculum and instruction.

Currently, there are 53 students enrolled in day and evening classes at the ITC.

TCTC’s CNC Programming and Operations program prepares individuals for entry-level to advanced machining and prototyping jobs, said Paul Phelps, dean of TCTC’s Engineering and Industrial Technology Division. “Graduates are needed by every manufacturer you can name in the tri-county area, ranging from a small shop to a major manufacturer. Machining is crucial to all manufacturing processes, from maintenance to product development to manufacturing in general. For every plastic part made, a mold must be made by a CNC machine and a machinist at the controls. You’ll find everything from your cell phone case to silverware on your table was touched by a machinist,” said Phelps.

TCTC’s CNC Programming and Operations associate degree was designed with employer guidance to prepare students for positions as highly skilled technicians. Students learn not only how to write CNC programs but also how to use CAD/CAM design and analysis applications, create precision set-ups, select tooling, and operate a variety of CNC milling and turning centers. Graduates are highly sought-after candidates for local manufacturing companies and precision machine shops. “Machining is always advancing. We strive to teach students the fundamentals and then build from there. Students should have the confidence to go to any shop and begin working, and continue to learn for the rest of their career,” said Daniel Harbin, program director for CNC Programming and Operations at TCTC.

“Since 2015, the Haas Foundation has supported scholarships for CNC students,” said Gerald Maxie, CNC instructor at TCTC. “Students at the College can work with cutting-edge CNC controls on milling machines, including those with multi-axis capability and Live Tooling applications on CNC lathes, as well as advanced production applications with material feeders. The support from the Haas Foundation bodes well for the future of CNC students at Tri-County Technical College.”


About Tri-County Technical College
Tri-County Technical College, a public two-year community and technical college serving Anderson, Oconee and Pickens Counties in South Carolina, enrolls more than 9,000 students annually and offers more than 70 major fields of study, including computer technology, business administration, mechatronics, nursing, and university transfer programs. Tri-County boasts the highest student success rate among two-year colleges in the state and ranks in the top one percent nationally for successful student transfers to four-year colleges and universities. To learn more, visit