BCIT and the Gene Haas Foundation announce the opening of the new Gene Haas Manufacturing Lab

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: On October 4, the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) and the Gene Haas Foundation announced the opening of the new Gene Haas Manufacturing Lab. Made possible by a $1 million CAD donation from the Gene Haas Foundation, this training facility is a complete modernization and expansion of the Machinist Workshop at the BCIT Burnaby Campus. It will enhance the applied learning experience of BCIT Machinist students, equipping them with leading-edge skills for careers in machining while meeting the growing need for a skilled workforce in British Columbia’s vital manufacturing sector.

The new Gene Haas Manufacturing Lab reflects the technological advancements and professional settings of the manufacturing sector. Featuring an optimized floor plan and workflow, a new designated CNC Machinist training area, and the integration of new equipment enabling collaborative and interdisciplinary training with Mechanical Engineering students, the lab will enhance partnerships with industry and other post-secondary institutions.

With an estimated 85,000 new trades jobs expected over the next 10 years in BC, the Gene Haas Manufacturing Lab will help alleviate waitlists by increasing learning opportunities in the machining field. As the only provider of Machinist Apprenticeship training in BC, BCIT will welcome an additional 45 students per year as a result of the new expanded training facility.

BCIT has a longstanding partnership with the Gene Haas Foundation. As advocates of skills building and education in Canada, the organization has generously supported Machinist programs at the BCIT School of Energy since the 1980s.


Dr. Jeff Zabudsky, President, BCIT

“As the largest trades training provider in Western Canada, BCIT partners with industry to develop a resilient and future-focused workforce. The new Gene Haas Manufacturing Lab is an excellent example of the power of industry-education collaboration, and will enable BCIT to continue to train highly skilled workers that meet the demands of the manufacturing sector in BC.”

Andrea Frisque, Dean, School of Energy

“This revitalized space will help us create a state-of-the-art learning environment that is conducive to excellence in machining and manufacturing education. The new Gene Haas Manufacturing Lab will not only equip current Machining students with the most up-to-date training in metal fabrication in a learning environment that mirrors the workplace, but also attract new learners to this growing field.”

Ross McDonald, President, Thomas Skinner (Haas Factory Outlet – Vancouver)

“We at Thomas Skinner understand the important role locally accessed education plays in industry and manufacturing. Being a Western Canadian based company, this investment in trades and engineering training, right here in British Columbia, is exciting and we are proud to have had a role in this project. BCIT is vital to the development of well-educated workers who will become leaders in industry. The Gene Haas Manufacturing Lab will play an important role. Students will learn on best-in-class equipment within a very welcoming and professional facility. Thomas Skinner continues to support investment in polytech facilities as well as the provincial and national skills competitions. A commitment to education is written into our mission statement and it is part of our culture.”

About BCIT

For nearly 60 years, the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) has been delivering flexible, relevant, and future-proof education that prepares learners to provide applied solutions to industry challenges. As one of BC’s largest post-secondary institutes with five campuses, 300+ programs, and over 45,000 students enrolled each year, BCIT connects education, industry, and government in building an agile workforce. The BCIT curriculum is developed through close consultation with industry, and delivered by faculty who have hands-on experience in their fields. Students gain the technical skills and real-world experience needed to lead innovation in their workplaces and communities.

About the Gene Haas Foundation

The Gene Haas Foundation was established by Gene Haas in 1999. Gene Haas is the owner of Haas Automation, Inc. Gene initially formed the Foundation to fund the needs of the local community where his manufacturing facility is located. Seeing a growing need for skilled manufacturing employees industry wide, the Foundation expanded its mission to include support for manufacturing training programs throughout North America and beyond. The Foundation provides scholarship funds to secondary and post-secondary schools for students looking to enter technical training programs, as well to youth programs that inspire young people to consider manufacturing careers. Since its inception, the Foundation has awarded more than $175 million (as of 2022) to deserving charities and educational institutions.

About Thomas Skinner

Thomas Skinner has been supporting the manufacturing community of Western Canada since 1904 as the leading distributor of industrial metalworking products from Best In Class manufacturers of CNC (computerized numerical control) and conventional machine tools, cutting tools, precision measuring instruments, tool holders, abrasives, workholding equipment, band saws, cutting fluids and other machine shop supplies. Thomas Skinner is the exclusive distributor for Haas CNC machine tools in the region. Offices are located in Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary and Winnipeg. Each facility offers showrooms, technical sales, aftermarket parts and service support.

A new era is underway at BCIT. Learn more about the INSPIRE Campaign.

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