Glendale Community College hosted dozens of regional leaders on Monday during a ceremony in which the Gene Haas Foundation awarded $1 million to a manufacturing education organization. The money will be handed out as scholarships to 1,000 students studying manufacturing across the country and in Europe.

The event took place at the Glendale campus because it has a reputation in Los Angeles for training students in machining and is located in a major professional hub — manufacturing is the fourth-largest industry in the Verdugo region, according to the Verdugo Workforce Investment Board.

Rep. Adam Schiff, who spoke shortly after the Haas Foundation presented the $1 million donation to the Society of Manufacturing Engineers Education Foundation, said the United States needs to become “a manufacturing powerhouse” in order to compete in the global economy.

“The only way we can compete and succeed and thrive and maintain a higher standard of living is if we’re the most productive people on Earth,” he said. “Through efforts like this, we are creating the talent of the next workforce.”

The history of machining at the Glendale campus dates back to 1940 when a four-semester class introduced that year prepared machinists for work during World War II.

For decades, Glendale Community College has trained its students on machines made by Haas Automation Inc., and one lab alone has 12 sophisticated Haas computer numerical control machines. Most are worth at least $100,000 each.

Each semester the college sees up to 200 students enroll in machining classes.

Using them, students have churned out hubcaps, tools and “whatever [else] can fit in the machine,” said Scott Rubke, chair of the college’s technology and aviation division.

The lab also has several 3-D printers.

College instructor Aram Ohanis said students who learn how to design products and produce them using machines are better prepared to land well-paying jobs in the aerospace, entertainment or automotive industries after just two semesters.

At least one Glendale Community College student, he said, went on to work for SpaceX, a company founded in 2002 that designs, manufactures and launches rockets and other spacecraft.

Several local manufacturing companies that have purchased Haas machines also turn to the college to train their employees on the equipment, said Jan Swinton, dean of instructional services and workforce development.

“Now there’s a reputation for the high level of training we provide,” she said.

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Follow Kelly Corrigan on Twitter: @kellymcorrigan.

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