Story by Rebekah Thompson and Lauren Kinney

Metallica is providing students with titanium-strength support for rock-solid careers in the manufacturing and building industries.

The band set up a nonprofit organization called the Metallica Scholars Initiative with a goal to give back to the communities where they’ve performed. This year, Clackamas Community College won the grant for a second time, making it one of 10 colleges to receive $100,000 for students in technical work programs.

Tools are a crucial part of careers including welding and manufacturing.

Tom Brown, CCC project outreach coordinator, said a tool box for manufacturing students can cost $450.

“You got to have them when you leave,” said Brown. “You’re not going to work if you don’t have your own tools.”

For welding students, a good, professional welding hood can go for $350, and students can spend $1,200 in total for the equipment they need for the trade.

For automotive students the tool list can reach $6,800 in costs.

The grant has helped many students get their own tools, which they keep after leaving the college. Having tools can also get you through college faster, as you don’t have to wait to use tools that someone else might be using.

“If you don’t have your own tools, you’re usually using old tools,” said Brown. “You’re waiting in line, you’re doing a lot of waiting instead of welding.”

CCC welding student Jessica Jones said, “When I started at Clackamas, I felt like I wasn’t really a welding student, and once I got this grant I felt like an actual welder. I felt a tremendous amount of confidence in me.”

Jones said that after receiving the grant and after passing her certification test, she did a lot of important thinking. She decided to not only go into welding technology, but also hopes to be a welding teacher.

Jack Sutherlands, another CCC welder, said, “I contribute a lot of my success to the fact that I was able to receive grant money.”

Sutherlands said he pays out of pocket for school, and the gear that is required amounts to a lot when you also pay tuition. He currently has a new job going into the field as an ironworker and field welder.

Lars Ulrich, Metallica’s drummer and co-founder, said on the grant website that the choice to focus on workforce education was because, “All of us in the band feel fortunate that music has provided us the opportunity to be successful doing something we are passionate about. We want to share our success with others so that they can find a job where they can do the same.”

Last year at CCC, 84 students were helped by the grant. This year, 80 more will get help buying their tools.

Collin Boling, a manufacturing student at CCC helped by the grant last summer, said, “These tools are very expensive and very hard to find. The scholarship is giving us really good ones.”

His shiny red tool box contained tools that would have cost him nearly $2,000 had he purchased them on his own.

Collin said he’s grateful for the help because it’s allowed him to be able to pay for things such as food and housing, so that he can master his skills and become a manufacturing rock star.    

Clackamas Print