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Gene Haas Foundation Uses Machining Award to Encourage Future Engineers at Skills Canada Competition

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The SME Education Foundation and the Gene Haas Foundation proudly offer educational awards to the top machining contestants at the Skills Canada National Competition.

DEARBORN, Mich., OXNARD, Calif., June 26, 2013 — Many young people are not considering careers in skilled trades due to a lack of information about the lucrative opportunities available to those with technology and trade certifications. At the 19th Skills Canada National Competition (SCNC), there was a showcase of talent from career and technical education students. This challenge provided an opportunity for students, parents, teachers and the general public to discover the many promising futures to be found in trade and technology occupations.

The Gene Haas Foundation recognizes the need to inspire and support students who show an interest in advanced manufacturing and technology. Its continued support of manufacturing education is shown in the form of a $27,000 grant to the SME Education Foundation for the Skills Canada Machining Championship Award as an incentive to contest winners at the Skills Canada competition.

This year’s gold medal winners in the Precision Machining category at Skills Canada were Jason McElrea of SAIT Polytechnic, Alberta; Austin Demorest of Carlton Collegiate, Saskatchewan and Collin McDougall of Red River College, Manitoba. Silver medal winners were Michael Mills of Durham College, Ontario; Jonathan Betz of Murdoch McKay Collegiate Institute, Manitoba and Jared Rossiter of Conestoga College, Ontario. Bronze medal winners were Leighton Dyck of Assiniboine Community College, Manitoba; Conley Wurban of Calmar School, Alberta and Shane Crerar of SIAST - Wascana campus, Saskatchewan. The Gene Haas Foundation Machining Championship Award certificates were presented at the June 8 awards ceremony in Vancouver. The nine national medal winners will receive the following amounts: Gold: $2,000, Silver: $1,500 and Bronze: $1,000.

“Skills Canada is important because it generates the interest and excitement needed to get more young people interested in manufacturing,” says Peter Zierhut, representative, Gene Haas Foundation. “This is where the best students in the country are competing and their involvement proves their capability and commitment to manufacturing. These are the individuals the industry will want in the future and it’s important to offer incentives to allow them to go on to the next level.”

The Skills Canada Machining Championship Award program is administered by the SME Education Foundation. Winning medalists receive a designated amount each year to support continued learning by submitting their applications and award certificates to the Foundation. The Foundation will then send designated award funding directly to the medalists’ respective schools.

The award program builds on the efforts of the SME Education Foundation to inspire, prepare and support the next generation of manufacturers and technologists for careers in a highly skilled workforce. The Foundation continually invites other manufacturers to join in this effort.

About Skills Canada:
Skills/Compétences Canada was founded in 1989 as a national, not-for-profit organization that works with employers, educators, labour groups and governments to promote skilled trades and technology careers among Canadian youth. Its unique position among private and public-sector partners enables it to work toward securing Canada’s future skilled labour needs while helping young people discover rewarding careers. Skills/Compétences Canada offers experiential learning opportunities including skilled trades and technology competitions for hundreds of thousands of young Canadians through regional, provincial/territorial, national and international events, as well as skilled trades awareness programs. Many programs highlight digital and essential skills, which are crucial qualifications in most careers of today. Headquartered in Ottawa, Ontario, Skills/Compétences Canada is the Canadian member organization of WorldSkills International.

For more information, visit or call 877.754.5226.

About The Gene Haas Foundation:
The Gene Haas Foundation, Oxnard, California, was created in 1999 by Gene Haas, founder and president of Haas Automation, Inc. (HaasCNC), the largest machine tool manufacturer in the United States. Created to help fund community/humanitarian causes, it has provided more than $10 million to more than 900 nonprofit and charitable community causes. One of its primary goals is providing financial assistance to students interested in manufacturing-based careers. Scholarship programs are available through career centers, technical schools, community colleges and universities.


About the SME Education Foundation:
The SME Education Foundation is committed to inspiring, preparing and supporting the next generation of manufacturing engineers and technologists in the advancement of manufacturing education. Created by SME (Society of Manufacturing Engineers) in 1979, the SME Education Foundation has provided more than $33 million since 1980 in grants, scholarships and awards through its partnerships with corporations, organizations, foundations and individual donors. Visit the SME Education Foundation at Also visit for information on advanced manufacturing careers and, our award-winning website for young people.

Media Contacts:
Bart A. Aslin, CEO, SME Education Foundation, 313.425.3302,;
Peter Zierhut, Representative, Gene Haas Foundation, 805.988.6990,

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