Pairing the shredding sounds of …And Justice for All and Ride the Lightning with educating trades workers seems odd at first glance. Here’s a solution to workforce development that is more metal than anything that came before. Rock legends Metallica announced this week that the band will give $1 million in grants to strengthen career and technical education programs at 10 community colleges.
Metallica’s music is an ideal soundtrack for jobs in this line of work. Replacing a broken engine manifold or framing a house is better with some heavy metal accompaniment.
So it makes sense that Metallica’s All Within My Hands Foundation (AWMH) is launching the Metallica Scholars Initiative as a way to “give back to the communities that supported the band” during its 2017-2019 U.S. “WorldWired” tour. Metallica’s Lars Ulrich said that the band wanted to add workforce education to AWHS’ mission to help community college students get the skills for jobs which engage their passions.
“All of us in the band feel fortunate that music has provided us the opportunity to be successful doing something we are passionate about. We want to share our success with others so that they can find a job where they can do the same,” Ulrich said in the announcement.
AWMH is partnering with the American Association of Community Colleges to distribute 10 $100,000 grants that directly support CTE programs and more than 1,000 students. The money will be dedicated to offsetting tuition and materials costs for students as well as promoting career pathways within CTE, according to the AACC’s website.
“The goal of our Metallica Scholars Initiative is to improve career opportunities for community college students in the trades. Equally, we hope to raise the awareness of the tremendous importance, value and impact of the education provided by our nation’s community college system,” AACC Executive Director Dr. Edward Frank said.
WorkingNation featured three of the schools which were awarded the Metallica Scholars grants. Gateway Technical College, North Idaho College and WSU-Tech were the settings for our Do Something Awesome mini-documentary series. The series highlights the value of educating and training workers for in-demand jobs in the trades and beyond.
- Gateway Technical College in Wisconsin has an advanced automotive maintenance and manufacturing program developed with through partnerships with Snap-on Incorporated, MOPAR and Fiat Chrysler North America. The goal is to provide Wisconsinites like Nicholas Schick and Michael Wittrock an on-ramp to careers in the automotive industry, which is facing a shortage of workers.
- North Idaho College is also responding to a worker shortage, but one in the aviation manufacturing and repair industry. The school is located in the remote Pacific Northwest region, which is home base to aviation manufacturers as big as Boeing and as small as Aerocet. NIC student Jennifer Treman shared her story with us about her educational journey which culminated in a job with Timberline Helicopters.
- WSU-Tech in Kansas is preparing students for careers in advanced manufacturing by training them in state-of-the-art processes like 3-D printing and precise measurement. The school ensures its faculty has the knowledge to train students to operate advanced manufacturing equipment through NC3’s “Train the Trainer” program.
Increased awareness about CTE programs is part of the ongoing renaissance in what was formerly called “vocational training.” In previous decades, educational providers shifted away from promoting career pathways into the trades to focus on college preparation. This has left many industries short of the skilled workers to replace a baby boomer generation that is reaching retirement age.
Raising awareness about the high-tech skills that are now incorporated in the trades will be key to convincing more students to take on these roles. Community colleges can be the resource to advance this message and rebuild this workforce, AACC President and CEO Walter Bumphus said in the release.
“These programs are responsive to the needs of local businesses and provide a pipeline of qualified workers to local industry. It’s a win-win for our students and the local economy. For Metallica to see the benefit of these programs and invest in the communities that have supported them is a testament to the power of education and we are proud to do this work with them,” said Bumphus.
The Metallica Scholars Initiative presents a new front in the issue of workforce development. The immense popularity of Metallica and the band’s devoted fan base will no doubt amplify the renaissance of the trades and the vital impact of CTE programs.
And we wouldn’t leave you hanging without some bonus content to thrash to. Enjoy one of the greatest music videos of all time, Metallica’s “One.”
Here are the seven other schools which will receive the Metallica Scholars Initiative’s $100,000 grants:
- Central Piedmont Community College, Charlotte, North Carolina
- Clackamas Community College, Oregon City, Oregon
- College of Lake County, Grayslake, Illinois
- Community College of Baltimore County, Baltimore, Maryland
- Grand Rapids Community College, Grand Rapids, Michigan
- Lone Star College, The Woodlands, Texas
- Spokane Community College, Spokane, Washington