Last spring, Clackamas Community College received an encore grant from the band Metallica’s All Within My Hands Foundation and just received another injection of funding.
This funding supports the college’s Metallica Scholars and its “heavy metals” programs of manufacturing, automotive and welding.
Created in 2019, the Metallica Scholars Initiative is a partnership between the band’s All Within My Hands Foundation and the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC), a Washington, D.C.-based organization representing the country’s more than 1,000 community colleges.
Fifteen colleges from communities that had supported Metallica during its recent U.S. tours were selected via a competitive application process, each receiving $100,000 from the Foundation to support students training to enter the American workforce.
During his time sheltering in place during COVID-19, Metallica lead vocalist and guitarist James Hetfield practiced a different kind of heavy metal: welding.
“The last two months have been a time for many to learn new skills or revisit hobbies left behind in a busy world,” the All Within My Hands Foundation said in a press release. “Our own James Hetfield has done a little of both!”
A long-time vintage car enthusiast, Hetfield has been restoring classic cars for many years and has honed his welding skills while doing so. To expand on those skills, along with developing a new creative outlet, he designed and built a pair of one-of-a-kind coffee tables dubbed “The COVID Collection by JH.”
The end tables were auctioned off this summer through a Go Fund Me campaign, which raised more than $75,000, which will support the welding programs within the Metallica Scholars initiative. Clackamas Community College was one of three lucky colleges to receive this additional funding.
“The continued support we have received from the All Within My Hand Foundation has been astounding,” CCC Dean Cynthia Risan said. “Thanks to this extra funding, our Metallica Scholars are not only graduating but finding jobs. Our job placement rates exceeding 90 percent.”
CCC student Jessica Jones is a Metallica Scholar studying welding. This spring, she landed a job with a welding metal fabrication business.
“By this program providing me with essential tools and equipment required to work in this field, I was able to build the confidence needed to obtain multiple welding certifications and jump feet first into the industry, that regardless of COVID 19, still needs qualified and skilled essential workers,” she said.
CCC will use the funding to purchase additional tools, textbooks, personal protective equipment for low-income students studying welding.
In addition to supplies, CCC Metallica Scholars receive resume and interview prep and practice, job and/or internship placement assistance, advising, career coaching and additional support in transportation, books and supplies. Last year, CCC served 81 unemployed or underemployed students, ages 17-58.
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