OREGON CITY, Ore. (KOIN) — Metallica’s lead vocalist and guitarist James Hetfield honed in on his welding skills during quarantine, and now students at Clackamas Community College are benefiting from it.
Hetfield, recently auctioned off his handmade one-of-a-kind coffee tables, dubbed “The COVID Collection by JH,” and raised $75,000 to support students in career and technical education (CTE) programs.
Clackamas Community College was selected as one of three colleges to receive a $25,000 of the proceeds from Hetfield’s project through the Metallica Scholars Initiative.
“That is the opportunity to keep recognizing the students and the need for the economy to have more of these trained welders,” CCC Dean of Technology, Applied Science and Public Services, Cynthia Risan said. “With the funding we’ve received our students are able to have their own tools, own PPE, and be able to start their careers.”
Last spring, CCC received a $100,000 encore grant from the heavy metal band’s ‘All Within My Hands Foundation.’ Risan says the college will use all received funds to help purchase additional tools, textbooks, and provide career coaching for more low-income students taking ‘heavy metals’ courses in manufacturing, automotive, and welding.
“A lot of times students had to wait in line to wait for something to be able to move their project forward in class… that’s because they were waiting for those shop tools, which are limited,” CCC workforce advisor, Tom Brown said. “The second you put tools in their hands and they own them.. So many students say ‘I feel so much more confident,’ even right now.”
CCC students Jessica Jones is a Metallica Scholar studying welding. In April, she landed a job with a welding metal fabrication business and says she’s grateful to the iconic band’s scholarship program for providing her with the essential tools.
“I felt so grateful to have the tools that had to be able to get me my foot in the door and to continue my trade here within the college,” Jones said. “It was well over $1,000 worth of tools… There’s no way with the income and what was going on when I started college that I would’ve been able to afford any of that. With the Metallica grant, I went from being a welding student to feeling like a real welder. “
Risan says with the funding received, more of their Metallica Scholars, like Jones, are finding jobs and adds that job placement rates exceed 90-percent. The college will use the additional funds to continue to provide scholarships for students, like Jones.
For more information about Metallica’s All Within My Hands Foundation, click here.