Rock Legends Support Energy Workforce Training

Rock Legends Support Energy Workforce Training
Metallica, through the band's AWMH Foundation, has helped to fund scholarships for Lone Star College students. PHOTO SOURCE: AWMH Hero

A legendary heavy-metal band is helping Houston-area students prepare for careers in oil and gas and other industries.

The Metallica Scholars Initiative, created by the band’s nonprofit All Within My Hands Foundation (AWMH), and footwear and apparel firm Wolverine (NYSE: WWW) have donated $100,000 in scholarships to Lone Star College (LSC) students pursuing traditional trades and other applied learning careers. The donation, which Wolverine supplemented with free boots and other items, has provided direct funding to 120 LSC students.

“Wolverine shares the same vision that we had when creating the Metallica Scholars Initiative – that it’s incredibly important to create and sustain a strong and resilient American workforce,” commented Metallica guitarist and lead vocalist James Hetfield. “More importantly, we are helping these students achieve their dreams and transform their lives through the workforce education programs offered at community colleges all across the country.”

Linda Leto Head, LSC’s senior associate vice chancellor for external and employer relations, told Rigzone the Metallica Scholars grant is supporting students in the school’s mechatronics, transportation and logistics and field service for the oil and gas industry programs.

“We have placed all our theory course online and purchased online software that provides short skill demonstration and videos to each section,” she said. “We also know the importance of hands-on training and having partnerships that support our students. Wolverine is a great partner providing quality clothing and equipment for our students soon to serve in a variety of industries that need safety equipment.”

Head also pointed out that LSC will continue to partner with Baker Hughes Co. (NYSE: BKR), which grants students access to its training facility in Tomball, Texas. Moreover, she said LSC has purchased the “RigSim: 600” visual simulator for its new simulation center for student training. She explained that manufacturing jobs in oil and gas have become more technical, with manufacturers competing to design increasingly complex equipment.

“There is a greater need to employ a higher-skilled entry-level employee,” Head noted. “Behavioral skills are required, and we intentionally embed from our list of 49 skills that the LSC chancellor’s oil and gas advisory council developed with our team. Also, oil and gas drilling and production companies are getting into other energy markets and they need our graduates to be more mobile for shorter periods of time to travel from job to job.”

A Fresh Start After a COVID-19 Job Loss

One scholarship beneficiary is Richard Canizales, who is studying welding at LSC. He told Rigzone the versatility of welding appeals to him.

“I found myself wanting to do something and have a skill set that I could take anywhere I go,” said Canizales. “I enjoy building things with my hands and it is something no one can take away from you. Training in welding is a great process and start to my journey in a new career … I recently lost my job due to COVID-19 and this money is an opportunity for me to continue my training and make the most out of these funds.”

Canizales, who described welding as “an art just like music,” also pointed out the Metallica connection is a major bonus for him.

“I was so surprised when I heard Metallica was providing this funding,” he said. “I play guitar and (Metallica lead guitarist) Kirk Hammett was the first person I would watch and he would just go off on his guitar. I listened to all their albums and they had a huge impact on me growing up.”

Lauren Poole, brand marketing director with Wolverine, said that LSC and other school recipients secured the funding through the American Association of Community Colleges, a Washington, D.C.-based organization that represents the country’s 1,103 community colleges.

“The Metallica Scholars awards were selected via a competitive application process and are designed to provide support of relevant job skills training for community college students, reinvest in communities that supported Metallica during its recent U.S. tours and leverage the influence of Metallica to elevate the importance of career and technical education,” Poole said.

She added that institutions such as LSC represent a vital pathway to in-demand careers – particularly nowadays.

“Wolverine is on a mission to build the next generation of the American workforce and understands that trade schools are key to building and maintaining the next generation,” Poole said. “Trade education is important all the time, but especially in a time of crisis as many of these jobs are deemed essential, and our world is in need of a skilled and highly qualified essential workforce.”

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