Heavy Metal Band Metallica Funds GRRC Welding Program for 4th Consecutive Year

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A fourth grant from Metallica’s All Within My Hands Foundation will allow Grand Rapids Community College to help more non-traditional students learn in-demand welding skills.

GRCC was one of the first 10 colleges to be supported by the legendary group when it launched the Metallica Scholars program in 2018, and has been included every year since.

The foundation provided the GRCC with $185,000 over four years, and the grant helps continue a program for underserved community members, giving them job skills as well as hands-on welding experience.

More than 100 GRCC students have earned certificates through the program, a partnership between the group’s foundation and the American Association of Community Colleges.

The GRCC is currently one of 32 colleges included in the program and the only one in Michigan.

“We are proud that Metallica and its foundation continue to invest in the GRCC and our students,” said John Van Elst, Acting Executive Director of Workforce Training. “When you give someone a new skill set, you’re doing more than helping them find a new job. You change the course of their life.

The GRCC partners with local employers so students can participate in site visits, employee panels, and mentorship to help them determine if welding fits their career goals. Each student participates in individualized career preparation with the GRCC to ensure they are ready to work upon completion of their welding license.

All Within My Hands executives say the Metallica Scholars program has generated proven, measurable impact. AWMH added 10 more schools to its list, investing $1.8 million to expand in year four.

“Our goal for the Metallica Scholars Initiative is to shine a light on workforce education and support the next generation of tradespeople,” said Pete Delgrosso, executive director of All Within My Hands. “With the addition of the Metallica Scholars 2022-2023 program, our grants will reach more than 2,000 men and women at 32 community colleges in 27 states. We are honored to support these students of all ages and backgrounds and look forward to expanding the program even further in the future.

The foundation said that on average, students who complete the program see new job opportunities and increased earning potential up to three times higher than before the program.

The foundation will also continue to partner with Rockford-based Wolverine Boots & Apparel in a collaboration that provided financial support and outfitted Metallica scholars with work boots.

“I drive every day to Grand Rapids from White Cloud for this training, so getting the Metallica scholarship was like winning the lottery, and the nice Wolverine boots were a bonus too!” According to Armondo Medina, student at the GRCC. “I’m so grateful!”

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