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August 24, 2023
August 24, 2023, Jersey City, NJ – As Metallica rocks a summer stadium tour, the heavy metal titans also celebrate the fifth year of their Foundation’s All Within My Hands (AWMH) Metallica Scholars Initiative. The band’s multimillion-dollar investment in critical workforce programs at community colleges throughout the nation is expanding, and Hudson County Community College (HCCC) was invited to return for a second year in this project and continue receiving Metallica Scholars funding to enhance career and technical education.
“The Metallica Scholars Initiative is so important to us because we are seeing results. Five years in, with the help of community colleges across the country, we are helping people fill these essential jobs which require skills and training. We are so proud and grateful that we can facilitate this program,” said Metallica’s Lars Ulrich.
Launched by Metallica’s Foundation AWMH in 2019, the Metallica Scholars Initiative, in partnership with the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC), marks its fifth year with an ambitious expansion into new curricula. The Metallica Scholars Initiative now directly supports 42 community colleges across 33 states, and will help an estimated 6,000 students pursuing careers in the trades by the end of this year. Metallica and AWMH have invested over $6 million in the American workforce.
Returning colleges like HCCC play an integral role in helping guide the success of the eleven community colleges joining the roster of veteran schools this fall.
“Metallica has shown us the transformative power of music and education,” said HCCC President Dr. Christopher Reber. “We are honored to reaffirm our partnership with the Metallica Foundation and AACC to continue empowering our community with the education and training for sustainable careers.”
The American Welding Society estimates a shortage of 400,000 welding professionals by 2025. HCCC received $100,000 from the Metallica Scholars Initiative in 2022 and $50,000 in 2023 to provide a pathway to welding careers for 21 previously incarcerated individuals. The life-changing HCCC program is offered in partnership with the New Jersey Reentry Corporation and the Governor’s Reentry Training and Employment Center in Kearny. The funding provides students with tuition, textbooks, materials, Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) 10 training, consumables, helmets, safety glasses, jackets, and exam fees for American Welding Society certification.
Graduates of the HCCC program said completing the welding training has given them a second chance. “In the past, I made a mistake that led to consequences that put a temporary stop to me becoming the man I always wanted to be,” said Anthony. “This new opportunity gives me a chance at redemption. I am the most focused I have ever been, 42 years old, and I have no room for error.”
Monique dropped out of cosmetology and liberal arts studies to pursue a welding certification after learning the trade on the job. “My boss would make makeshift blueprints that I was able to follow. Now I can obtain my certification and learn how to read an official blueprint. With this line of work, employers are more concerned with the skill as opposed to the conviction,” she said.
Volkan is a Turkish immigrant who holds a college degree in economics, worked in banking, and owned a gas station before alcoholism wreaked havoc on his life. “It was during my stay in rehab that I discovered welding, which I had seen on YouTube before but had never thought of as a career,” he said. “I am still learning, and I believe that I will be incredibly happy in my new career. I am grateful for this opportunity to make a change and start afresh.”
“The Metallica Scholars Initiative is a strong and cooperative assemblage of the nation’s best community colleges, creating a supportive climate for participants to communicate directly and share best practices. As a result, our Metallica Scholars leave the program well-trained and confident. Ultimately, the impact is felt locally and nationally as Metallica Scholars enter the workforce and fill in-demand technical positions,” said Peter Delgrosso, AWMH Executive Director.
“We are happy to continue to partner with Metallica’s All Within My Hands Foundation to support the vital career and technical education work of the nation’s community colleges,” said Walter G. Bumphus, AACC’s president and CEO. “Colleges across the country provide pathways to well-paying jobs through programs, services and training that lead to in-demand skills, certificates and degrees for students. These programs are responsive to the needs of local businesses and provide a pipeline of qualified workers to local industry. Partners like Metallica that continue to provide support for community colleges help us to showcase the importance of investing in the transformative power of community college education.”