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HERO OF THE DAY? Heavy metal band Metallica grants $100K to GRCC for welding program COURTESY PHOTO

HERO OF THE DAY? Heavy metal band Metallica grants $100K to GRCC for welding program

BY Wednesday, December 12, 2018 01:34pm

GRAND RAPIDS — Grand Rapids Community College will receive $100,000 from heavy metal band Metallica to support new programming, the school announced today.

The funding will help launch a new welding program targeted at nontraditional students that will feature smaller class sizes, flexible scheduling and career preparation assistance.

GRCC is one of 10 U.S. colleges nationwide to get funding from the band’s new foundation, according to a statement. The school intends to partner with local employers for site visits, career panels and mentoring to ensure students are job-ready upon completion of their welding certification.

GRCC already houses one of the largest welding facilities in the Midwest. On-campus programming gives students a hands-on experience learning oxy/fuel, shielded metal, gas tungsten, gas metal, pipe welding, and robotics, which prepares students to work as welding technicians in manufacturing.

Job opportunities for trained welders are expected to increase in the years ahead, according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics. Currently, there are more than 200 full-time welding positions posted by local companies on the job-search site Indeed.com. On average, local welders make about $18 an hour, according to the site.

Workforce development grants are the latest philanthropic project from Metallica’s All Within My Hands Foundation. Formed in 2017, the foundation invests in “the communities who have supported the band for years” by providing grants to cities where the band has recently toured. In addition to GRCC, job-training programs at community colleges in North Carolina, Oregon, Illinois, Maryland, Wisconsin, Texas, Idaho, Washington, and Kansas will also receive funding.

“All of us in the band feel fortunate that music has provided us the opportunity to be successful doing something we are passionate about," Metallica's co-founder and drummer Lars Ulrich 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.”

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