Heavy metal band Metallica funds welding program in Grand Rapids for 4th straight year


GRAND RAPIDS, MI – Metallica is investing in Grand Rapids Community College’s welding program for a fourth consecutive year to help non-traditional students gain hands-on vocational training in welding.

GRCC received a $10,000 grant from the band this year through Metallica’s All Within My Hands Foundation, which has invested a total of $185,000 in GRCC’s welding program over the past four years. , according to a press release from the college.

More than 100 GRCC students have earned certificates under the program since its launch in 2018, college officials said.

GRCC was one of 10 colleges nationwide to receive the first Metallica Scholars scholarship four years ago. Since then, the program has expanded to 32 colleges nationwide, but GRCC remains Michigan’s only partner college.

“We are proud that Metallica and its foundation continue to invest in the GRCC and our students,” John Van Elst, acting executive director of Workforce Training, wrote in a prepared statement. “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.

This year, Metallica’s foundation invested a total of $1.8 million nationwide in this initiative, in partnership with the American Association of Community Colleges.

The program aims to promote skills in the trades as meaningful and well-paying career paths. The college partners with local employers so students can participate in site visits, employee panels, and mentorship so they can determine if welding is a match for their career goals.

Each student in the program participates in individualized career preparation with the GRCC to ensure they are ready to work upon completion of their welding license, according to the release.

The program is largely aimed at providing hands-on welding experience to members of the underserved community, GRCC officials said.

Pete Delgrosso, executive director of All Within My Hands, said the program’s goal is to support the next generation of tradespeople.

“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,” Delgrosso said in a statement. “We are honored to support these students of all ages and backgrounds and look forward to expanding the program even further in the future.”

On average, students who complete the program see new job opportunities and increased earning potential up to three times higher than before participating in the program, according to the foundation.

The median wage for welders in 2021 was $22.60 per hour or $47,010 per year, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The training costs only $50 for students, and the rest is covered by the grant.

Metallica Fellows also receive work boots from Rockford-based Wolverine Boots & Apparel as part of the partnership.

“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!” GRCC student Armondo Medina said in a statement. “I’m so grateful!”

For more information on the GRCC’s Metallica Scholars Welding Program, visit the college’s website here.

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