Hudson County Community College was picked as one of 10 community colleges to receive $100,000 through the Metallica Scholars Initiative.
As a member of the fourth cohort to receive these funds, the college will provide a pathway to certification in welding for previously incarcerated individuals. The program will be offered in partnership with the New Jersey Reentry Corp. and the Governor’s Reentry Training and Employment Center in Kearny.
The Metallica Scholars Initiative funding will provide students with tuition, textbooks, materials, Occupational Health and Safety Administration 10 training, consumables, helmets, safety glasses, jackets, and exam fees for American Welding Society certification. Participants will also receive support from Hudson County Community College Student Success Coaches, plus tutoring, case management, financial services, food pantry groceries, and other basic needs beyond the classroom.
Yep, it’s that Metallica
“All Within My Hands” is the last song on the band Metallica’s 2003 album St. Anger. It’s also the name of a nonprofit established by the group and its management in 2017. Its efforts are focused on supporting workforce education, the fight against hunger, and other local services. In its 2021 Annual Report, AWMH reported total donations of $2.27 million worldwide.
“Training and certification in welding, an in-demand, high-wage occupation, will be transformational for these students as they strive to overcome a host of barriers and secure a positive future,” said HCCC President Christopher Reber. “We are very proud to have been chosen for this selective cohort and value the opportunity to offer a lifeline to a promising future for the students and their families. This training will prepare a much-needed workforce for our community.”
The Metallica Scholars Initiative was established in 2019 by the All Within My Hands Foundation. Since then, it’s been working with the American Association of Community Colleges. AWMH is pushing the program further by adding the 10 colleges in Cohort 4 to the roster, and investing $1.8 million for the expansion.
“Our goal for the Metallica Scholars Initiative is to shine a light on workforce education and support the next generation of tradespeople. With the addition of the 2022-23 Metallica Scholars program, our grants will reach over 2,000 men and women in 32 community colleges across 27 states,” said AWMH Executive Director Pete Delgrosso. “We are honored to support these students of all ages and backgrounds and look forward to growing the program even further in the future.”
Welding is a valuable skill necessitated by most every facet of the construction industry. The American Welding Society reports that by 2025, the United States will be faced with a shortage of more than 400,000 welding professionals.
HCCC launched its first welding course in spring 2022 as an elective in the College’s Advanced Manufacturing Associate Degree program, and as a result of the demand, the school also created a noncredit version of the course that incorporates basic welding skills with preparation for the Certified Welder Test accredited by the American Welding Society.
The HCCC 10-week welding course will be held in-person at the Governor’s Reentry Training and Employment Center in Kearny. There, the New Jersey Reentry Corp. has invested in a welding lab designed in collaboration with the American Welding Society and HCCC. Classes will be limited to a maximum of 12 students each.
Reber said the college has contacted local employers who’re interested in hiring students who attain the certified welding credential.
“The impact on the welding student graduates will be significant and transformational,” Reber said. “We are grateful to All Within My Hands and the American Association of Community Colleges and look forward to working with our many community partners to ensure the success and sustainability of this program.”