Austin Mullins, left, a JCJC machining student from Ellisville, shows off his work to JCJC VP of External Affairs Jim Walley, center, and Jones County Beat 4 Supervisor David Scruggs. (Photo by JCJC)

JCJC partners with Haas Factory Outlet

By Teresa McCreery

JCJC Media Relations

The future of manufacturing and machining in Mississippi has virtually changed with the cutting of a ribbon to officially announce the partnership between Jones County Junior College’s Precision Machining and Manufacturing program and Haas Factory Outlet, which is one of North America’s largest designers and manufacturers of CNC machine tools and a machine tool distributor.

“Great things are happening in Jones County because of partnerships like this. If you don’t think we can build it, you need to come see this place,” said JCJC President Dr. Jesse Smith. “We (JCJC) want to be a benefit to our community and certainly to corporations that are willing to come in and invest in Jones and in this part of the country.”

Preparing for Mississippi’s only HFO Showroom meant remodeling the current machine lab at JCJC. Haas Factory Outlet service manager Clayton Phillips and JCJC Precision Manufacturing and Machining instructor Chase Elmore spent the summer cleaning, painting, rewiring and moving old machines.

Over three weeks last summer, HFO invested more than $50,000 in remodeling the 6,500 square-foot machining lab and then installed an air compressor to run three Haas consigned machines, with an estimated value of $300,000, including a DT-1 drill/tap center, ST-30Y CNC Lathe with bar-feeder and a VF-3-YT/50 taper vertical machining center.

“We’ll always make sure we have the machines with the latest, high-end, cutting-edge technology because this is a showroom for us,” said Haas Factory Outlet General Manager Patrick Kane. He added, “We’re going to bring customers in and show them the machines and at the same time they’re going to evaluate some students. It’s a win-win for us all.”

Additionally, Haas has committed to providing free technical support from certified Haas technicians and JCJC is now part of the HTEC or Haas Technical Education Center. This network of industry leaders and educators was formed to allow for interacting and sharing information about the industry’s current and future needs.

“We want to help promote the program. The more students we put out here and the more students we put to work in Mississippi, the more products your companies can put out and the more products your customers can take home. We’re really here to bridge that gap between education and industry,” said Haas Factory Outlet-Morris Group director of education Toni Neary.

This partnership has the potential to change the face of manufacturing and machining in Mississippi and Louisiana as HFO has already begun plans to expand its presence in the region. Combining Elmore’s vision for the machining program at JCJC with Haas’ commitment to education and the possibilities are endless for students and industry.

“I want to put JCJC on the map as the leading producer of machining students. I want to make it to where Jones is known for this program and that’s my goal. I’m going to keep working until I get there,” said Elmore.

Haas is optimistic its area customers such as Praxair (formerly GE Aviation), Laurel Machine and Foundry and JPM of Mississippi in Hattiesburg will benefit from this partnership as Haas helps JCJC train students to become “work-ready” as CNC machinists, programmers and engineers for the current and future employers. Employers save time and money if their employees come to work trained, Elmore said.

For more information about the JCJC Precision Manufacturing and Machining program, contact Chase Elmore at 601-477-4201 or chase.elmore@jcjc.edu or on social media at Facebook JCJC precision manufacturing and machining or Instagram.