Metallica awards $100,000 for Gorge scholars

July 23, 2021

Columbia Gorge Community College (CGCC) has been selected from a competitive field of community colleges across the country to receive $100,000 to transform the future of students in the Mid-Columbia region. Funded by Metallica’s All Within My Hands (AWMH) foundation and led by the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC), the Metallica Scholars Initiative was designed to support students directly while elevating the importance of career and technical education. This work is highlighted at a global level by leveraging the influence of Metallica, whose members advocate for the dignity of professional trades and the role of community colleges in preparing students for those trades.

The Metallica Scholars Initiative is now in its third year, and has fundamentally improved the earning potential for students who become Metallica Scholars. Columbia Gorge Community College intends to prioritize underserved, rural students, and particularly those who are retraining or upskilling to advance in their current jobs or ones to which they aspire. Metallica Scholars will be showcased to promote skilled trade pathways as a means to economic development.

“We are incredibly grateful and extremely proud to join the Metallica Scholars Initiative family,” said Jarett Gilbert, vice president of instruction at CGCC. “With the generous support of AWMH and AACC, 45 Metallica scholars from our advanced manufacturing & fabrication, construction technologies, and electro-mechanical technology programs will receive tuition and tool scholarships, and access to wraparound supports, to help them complete their certificate or degree in pursuit of their career goals.”

“The foundation and the band pay attention and follow these programs and students, and there is no doubt that lives have been changed,” said Dr. Edward Frank, executive director of AWMH. “What makes this work so unique is that in addition to supporting students directly, our goal is not just to change individual lives, it is to unabashedly promote the trades as meaningful and well-paying career pathways. We are not afraid to be loud nor to dig in on things we believe in, and we believe in these students.”

“We are proud to work with Metallica to advance the career and technical education provided by the nation’s community colleges,” said Walter G. Bumphus, AACC’s president and CEO.  “Colleges across the country provide pathways to well-paying jobs through programs, services and training that lead to in-demand skills, certificates and degrees for students.  These programs are responsive to the needs of local businesses and provide a pipeline of qualified workers to local industry.  It’s a win-win for our students and the local economy. For Metallica to continue to invest in these students and communities is a testament to the power of the workforce education community colleges provide, and we are proud to do this work with them.”

James Hetfield, Metallica’s vocalist/guitarist and co-founder said, “As a touring entity we are in direct involvement with multiple essential career choices along our path, from electrical, professional driving, culinary and mechanical maintenance to public safety and logistical organizers. And that just scratches the surface. Those, along with a multitude of other technical careers, make our touring and our performances possible. We are passionate and grateful to these trades and tradespeople.”

Columbia Gorge Community College joins Clackamas, Spokane and North Idaho community colleges in the Pacific Northwest as Metallica Scholars Initiative recipients. CGCC is a public, two-year, accredited institution. As the only institution of higher education in the Mid- Columbia, CGCC offers degree and certificate programs of study in Hood River, The Dalles and via remote delivery. The college’s career-technical programs include nursing, electro-mechanical technology, and (starting this fall) construction technologies and advanced manufacturing. Learn more at

All Within My Hands (AWMH) was established in 2017 by Metallica as a means to invest in the people and places that have supported the band. It also provides a mechanism for Metallica’s fans to become engaged in philanthropy and volunteerism. The foundation is focused on supporting sustainable communities through workforce education, the fight against hunger, and other critical local services, and is fully supported by the band, the AWMH board, and by fans. All expenses of the foundation are covered by the band, the board, and a few special friends, so that 100 percent of donations go to the organizations it supports. AWMH is a registered 501(c)3 non-profit organization. For more information, please visit

As the voice of the nation’s community colleges, the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC), delivers educational and economic opportunity for nearly 12 million diverse students in search of the American Dream. Uniquely dedicated to access and success for all students, AACC’s 1,040 member colleges provide an on-ramp to degree attainment, skilled careers and family-supporting wages. Located in Washington, D.C., AACC advocates for these not-for-profit, public-serving institutions to ensure they have the resources and support they need to deliver on the mission of increasing economic mobility for all.