By Linda Shrieves, For the News-Gazette:
Valencia College has been selected as one of 15 colleges in the country to receive a $100,000 grant from the legendary heavy metal band Metallica’s All Within My Hands as part of their “Metallica Scholars Initiative” workforce program.
The Metallica initiative, founded in 2018, will award scholarships to approximately 25 residents of Orange and Osceola counties, providing them with short-term training in construction trades, providing them with the skills and knowledge to transition into high pay, high-demand jobs in their communities.
“We are excited to be part of the Metallica Scholars Initiative (MSI) grant program,” said Joe Battista, vice president of global, professional and continuing education at Valencia College. “Skill education and training is a wonderful employment pathway into higher wage opportunities in industries where skill positions are in demand in our community.”
This program will serve low-income Orange and Osceola County families with limited means to improve their economic outcome. This includes unemployed, under-employed, and those working multiple jobs to make ends meet. Students selected for the Metallica Scholars Initiative will be trained in welding, mechatronics or how to operate heavy construction equipment, including bulldozers, front-end loaders, excavators and articulated trucks. Graduates of these programs earn starting wages of $16 to $24 an hour in Central Florida.
Since 2018, All Within My Hands has teamed with the American Association of Community Colleges on the project, aimed at providing workforce training for community college students.
“All of us in the band feel fortunate that music has provided us the opportunity to be successful doing something we are passionate about,” said Lars Ulrich, Metallica’s co-founder and drummer. “We want to share our success with others so that they can find a job where they can do the same.”
Metallica established All Within My Hands 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 goal of our Metallica Scholars Initiative is to improve career opportunities for community college students in the trades,” said Edward Frank, AWMH’s executive director. “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. The foundation and the band are thrilled by the quality of proposals we received from these colleges, and are excited to do our part to help educate students so that they have the skills and training necessary to find meaningful and well-paying jobs in their communities.”
Through its Accelerated Skills Training program, Valencia College’s Continuing Education team works closely with local industry and businesses to provide short-term skills training in fields in high demand.
To learn more about Valencia’s Accelerated Skills programs and how to apply to become a Metallica Scholar, please visit www.valenciacollege.edu/AST or call 407-582-6688. Applications are currently being accepted for classes beginning in August.