School Program Earns $20K Grant

SALISBURY – The High Performance Manufacturing Program at Parkside High School’s Department of Career and Technology Education (CTE) has received $20,000 in grant money from the Gene Haas Foundation to fund scholarships over the next two years.

A $10,000 award will be used to fund scholarships for this year’s program graduates and a separate $10,000 award will go to next year’s students.

Steve Jenkins, High Performance Manufacturing instructor, said candidates pursuing an education in engineering or manufacturing will qualify for the money.

Jenkins said the scholarships highlight the demand for workers within the manufacturing field.

“In my generation, the people that know how to do machining and manufacturing are all retiring,” he said. “Manufacturing is a less positive word today, and with some exceptions, people don’t know what a great opportunity it is.”

Jenkins said he applied online for the grant money at the beginning of the school year and has since received two checks, which must be used in two years’ time.

“They are so generous to education, it’s crazy,” he said. “It’s a really awesome thing.”

The Gene Haas Foundation is a nonprofit organization that provides prize money to SkillsUSA competitors and scholarships to educational programs that build skills in the machining industry. Jenkins said Haas Automation is a well-known company within the machining industry and added that High Performance Manufacturing program students are taught using two Haas machines.

“In the machining trade, everyone knows about Haas,” he said. “They are very standardized. If you can run one, you can run all of them.”

Herb Sheppard, machine tool engineer with Haas Factory Outlet, presented Jenkins and CTE Supervisor Bryan Ashby with the two checks in January, but the instructor added that the second grant was a complete surprise.

“We are ecstatic,” he said. “It is unbelievable.”

A large portion of this year’s scholarship money will be presented to recipients at the annual awards banquet at the end of the school year and will be given exclusively to graduating High Performance Manufacturing students, according to Jenkins.

“They are going to be one of the producing members of society,” he said. “It’s kind of putting the program out front and center.”

About The Author: Bethany Hooper

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Bethany Hooper has been with The Dispatch since 2016. She currently covers various general stories. Hooper graduated from Stephen Decatur High School in 2012 and the University of Maryland in 2016, where she completed double majors in journalism and economics.