GRCC welding program gets $100K from Metallica

Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The Grand Rapids Community College’s welding program is getting a $100,000 gift from the heavy metal band Metallica.

GRCC will spend the cash from the Metallica Scholars grant on connecting nontraditional students with welding jobs.

“This is going to be a pilot of 35 students that will be able to access funds to help out with tuition, help out with equipment, help out with some of those kinds of supports to help them into welding positions,” GRCC President Dr. Bill Pink explained to 24 Hour News 8 Wednesday. “It’s also focused on what we call ‘nontraditional’ populations. So in the welding population, we do not see many women in that profession. We want to focus there. We want to focus on those maybe returning citizens, older citizens, who you may not really see in those professions off the bat.”

The “intensive” program will have small class sizes, flexible scheduling and career preparation help. It will also partner with local businesses for mentoring and so students can visit real work sites to get a feel for the job.

Pink said GRCC will provide more details about applying for the program after the grant comes through.

“We assume that we’ll probably have a quick and mad rush to the coffers,” he said.

The grant from Metallica’s All Within My Hands Foundation went to 10 community colleges across the country. Each of the programs getting money provides workforce training and is in a city where the band has toured since the start of 2017. Metallica visited Grand Rapids in March.

“All of us in the band feel fortunate that music has provided us the opportunity to be successful doing something we are passionate about,” Lars Ulrich, Metallica’s co-founder and drummer, said in a statement. “We want to share our success with others so that they can find a job where they can do the same.”

The other colleges to get the grant are:

  • Central Piedmont Community College in Charlotte, North Carolina
  • Clackamas Community College in Oregon City, Oregon
  • College of Lake County in Grayslake, Illinois
  • Community College of Baltimore County, Baltimore
  • Gateway Technical College in Kenosha, Wisconsin
  • Lone Star College in The Woodlands, Texas
  • North Idaho College in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho
  • Spokane Community College in Spokane, Washington
  • Wichita State University Campus of Applied Sciences and Technology in Wichita, Kansas

In a statement, foundation Executive Director Edward Frank said one of the goals of the program was to “raise the awareness of the tremendous importance, value and impact of the education provided by our nation’s community college system.”

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