Haywood Community College held an open house and ribbon cutting ceremony on Monday, July 16 for the new Advanced Machining Center located at the Regional High Technology Center. The center, funded by a grant from the Golden LEAF Foundation, is a state-of-the-art education and training center for advanced metal forming, machining up to and including 5-axis contours, computer aided design (CAD), manufacturing (CAM), and engineering (CAE). It is partnered with the Eastern Advanced Machining Center at Lenior Community College in Kinston, NC, Western Carolina University, and North Carolina State University.

"Economic indicators show that machining is among the top ten employment opportunities in WNC and I am deeply grateful to Golden LEAF for recognizing the unique role of the Regional High Technology Center and for entrusting it to make the Advanced Machining Center a true regional resource- one to be used for the training and retraining of advanced machinists throughout Western North Carolina," explained Dr. Rose Johnson, HCC President.

Mark Sorrells Senior Vice President of the Golden LEAF Foundation addressed the attendees saying, "It's all about jobs and creating high tech capabilities to keep jobs in Western North Carolina. It's all about training a highly qualified, highly skilled workforce. Machining is high tech, high skilled jobs. It's high paying jobs. There are not enough people to work in this field. To survive, we must get students skilled. We are excited to partner with HCC and the region to grow the investment of our people in Western North Carolina."

The Advanced Machining Center will offer applications in CNC machining, CNC EDM machining, customized new and expanding industry training, customized worker training and certification, reverse engineering, train-the-trainer, advanced machining equipment maintenance and operations, injection molding, and regional training and indoctrination for high school machining programs.

The Advanced Machining Center is affiliated with the North Carolina Aerospace Alliance, an associate of independent companies, academic institutions, not-for-profit organizations, and Department of Defense agencies. The alliance was established to identify opportunities for government and industry partnership to improve readiness and reduce the cost of aging aircraft weapon system ownership. The alliance develops capabilities to manufacture critical aviation parts in North Carolina to support the Cherry Point Aviation Depot, other military facilities in the state, and defense subcontractors.

Some of the equipment in the Advanced Machining Center includes: HAAS Tool Room Mill TM-1, HAAS CNC Control Simulators, Omax Waterjet 2652, Boy 35A Injection Molding Machine, Accurpress 7608, and a computer lab with over twenty workstations.

"Manufacturing remains a viable part of our economic development," Pat Freeman, Regional Director of the North Carolina Community College System, told the crowd at the open house. "Future employees will be eligible for high wage jobs because the advanced training center will be within their reach."

Dale Haddock, lead machining instructor at HCC, said, "When I look at where we started and where this will take us, it's a great leap into the future. But I am amazed at how quickly and enthusiastically these students embrace this technology."

Following the ribbon cutting ceremony, participants were led through a tour and saw the machines in action. For more information on the new Advanced Machining Center at the Regional High Technology Center, please call Tommy Clements, HCC Chairperson of Advanced Technologies at 627-4632.