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2024 Month Of Giving

Spotlight on Skilled Trades

MAY 1, 2024

It’s difficult to contextualize what it would mean to have 3 million trade jobs unfilled just four short years from now. Obviously, the effects would be far-reaching across everyday life. But allow us to get a little more specific and frame it through the lens of an industry we know well.

No touring act can survive without skilled tradespeople. Every stage you’ve ever stood in front of (or on) has been built and rebuilt with the talent and skill of tradespeople. Carpenters, riggers, electrical experts, welders… the list goes on. Then consider how these productions make their way from city to city: truck drivers, another career and technical education subject. We all know the stars on stage, but these hardworking crew members are the unsung heroes of the touring industry, without whom live music would cease to exist.

Designed to spotlight workforce education and careers in the skilled trades, the Metallica Scholars Initiative is a considerable part of what AWMH does. Partnering with the AACC to support trade programs at the community college level has been incredibly fulfilling, and this fall will mark the sixth year of this program. What began in 2019 with 10 schools and $1 million has blossomed into more than $8 million invested in 42 schools across 33 states, serving more than 5,000 students!

We love seeing our shared success in numbers, but the personal stories of our scholars humble us. The majority of our students are what would be considered "nontraditional." Any number of traits make up a nontraditional student: enrolling one or more years after completing high school, attending school on a part-time basis, working a full-time job while in school, supporting a family while in school, and receiving a GED certificate or other high school equivalency instead of a diploma. Other factors that equate to being a nontraditional student involve commute, living situation, age, previous college experience, family history, and income. Each of our Metallica Scholars has their own unique experience, but the common thread always comes back to one thing: a “life-changing” opportunity.

In Their Own Words: Notes From Our Metallica Scholars

"After only about a month and a half, I had enough money to take me and my kids out of my sister's house. We moved into a new place, got all new furniture, and a new life. The kids have never been happier. They have their own beds, new clothes, the toys they've always wanted, and I finally got what I wanted... My kids and me in a better renewed life. For a long time I felt hopeless but for once in my life, I can see a bright future for us."

Clackamas Community College

"I was feeling like a hamster on a wheel. This training is going to get me off that wheel and really move me toward something I can continue to grow and be proud of."

Grand Rapids Community College

"This award will change my life because it will help me pay for my bills and put food on the table until I begin working next month. This award has given me hope that there are people that believe in me and want me to do good and spread it in return."

Westchester Community College

"I was a student working full-time in fast food. There was no way I was going to do years of that. In four months, I went from not knowing anything about being a machinist to having a high-paying job in the field. I’m making money doing something I enjoy and learning new skill sets every day that I can take with me anywhere."

Polk State College