GRCC offering events to explore welding careers through Metallica Scholars program

April 23, 2019 GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Heavy metal can change your life!

Grand Rapids Community College is hosting two events to help people learn more about careers in welding, part of a program made possible through a grant from the heavy metal band Metallica’s All Within My Hands Foundation.

The exploration sessions will allow potential students to talk to people working in the field, learn more about welding jobs, meet employers and even give welding a try.

No prior experience with welding is required, and the exploration sessions are free. Details and registration are at

Events are planned for 6-8:30 p.m. May 2 and 9-11:30 a.m. May 4 at the Leslie E. Tassell M-TEC, 622 Godfrey Ave. SW.

“The Metallica Scholars program is an excellent opportunity for people to gain in-demand skills leading to rewarding careers,” said Julie Parks, executive director of GRCC’s Workforce Training program. “There are so many opportunities out there for people with the right skills. These exploratory sessions can inspire people to take that step toward a new career.”

Metallica gave GRCC a $100,000 grant in December to provide more opportunities for nontraditional students to gain welding skills.

GRCC is one of 10 colleges selected nationwide for the Metallica Scholars grant. The All Within My Hands Foundation teamed up with the American Association of Community Colleges on the project, aimed at providing workforce training for community college students and reinvesting in cities where the band has toured.

Parks and GRCC President Bill Pink met James Hetfield, the band’s vocalist, prior to the March 13 concert at the Van Andel Arena, to thank him for supporting community colleges and making communities stronger.

The college is using the grant to launch an intensive welding program targeted toward nontraditional students that takes less time to complete than traditional courses. It will also feature smaller class sizes with flexible scheduling options and career preparation assistance.

GRCC is partnering with local employers so students can participate in site visits, employee panels and mentoring to help them determine if welding is a good fit for their career goals. Each student will participate in individualized career preparation with GRCC to ensure they are job-ready upon completion of their welding license.

Metallica established the All Within My Hands Foundation in 2017 to invest in the people and places that have supported the band. The foundation previously supported efforts to fight hunger and provide emergency community aid, and is expanding its mission to include support for career and technical education.

The foundation’s executive director has said one of the goals of the grant program is to "raise the awareness of the tremendous importance, value and impact of the education provided by our nation’s community college system.”

Grand Rapids Community College is joined by colleges in North Carolina, Oregon, Illinois, Maryland, Wisconsin, Texas, Idaho, Washington and Kansas in receiving the grants.

Grand Rapids Community College has been offering educational opportunities in West Michigan for more than 100 years. Established in 1914, the college offers degree courses, certification and training programs, and workshops and personal enrichment classes. Offerings are held on GRCC’s downtown Grand Rapids campus, and at several locations throughout Kent and Ottawa counties, as well as through distance learning.

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