Photo and story by Mike Strickland
Thanks to a $100,000 grant from Metallica, students in the Clackamas Community College metal departments will get some heavy help when they venture out into the job force.
The band announced the grant shortly after their Portland show this past December. It’s part of a $1 million fund from their “All Within My Hands” foundation, which identifies colleges across the country and gives money to the metals programs. CCC is one of only 10 colleges chosen to receive this funding. The grant money will be allocated toward students who are graduating and need tools and other equipment to pursue their careers in welding, manufacturing and auto tech and repair.
Tom Brown, who administers grants at CCC, said they are identifying students who could benefit from the grant money. “We’ve got one manufacturing student identified so far — six or eight welders who I’m working on their paperwork and tool list,” Brown said.
Brown also said each department is setting its own procedures for students to apply for the money. “They want to have completed at least eight credits of welding so at that point they can tell they’re a serious student they’re going to follow through, they’re not just walking in the door and trying it out. So once they’ve completed those eight credits they can apply and that’s simply just coming and seeing me.”
Automotive Technology department chair Dave Bradley said their cut of the loot will go toward students buying tools.
“The individual awards for automotive are considerably higher than the awards for the other programs because the amount of tools required here,” Bradley said. “Other disciplines go into a business that has the equipment that they operate, and here a completed graduate will go into a shop taking their own tools to do the work so the requirements are considerably higher. Our automotive students are going to benefit to the tune of $2,900 each worth of tools and equipment to take with them into the workplace.”
“We’ve tried to establish a benchmark level for our students as far as qualifying for this grant money and that’s something that we’re still discussing — how far do we want to go and how strict do we want to make it,” Bradley said. “Do we want to make it for second- year students or right after the first year when they’ve qualified career pathways certificate and if that qualifies them then carry on from there.”
Bradley said they’re looking to award 12 students, two each from auto service and auto collision repair, over the course of the next three terms.
Instructor Jay Leuck explained that this particular grant program is still in its infancy, and the auto department has yet to identify students or set up an application process, as they are still hammering out the details.