In a unique philanthropic effort, the heavy metal band Metallica is funding a scholarship to prepare veterans for careers in agriculture and connect them with job opportunities, according to Hartnell College.

Metallica’s nonprofit, All Within My Hands Foundation, will donate $100,000 to Hartnell, a community college in California's Salinas Valley, as part of its Metallica Scholars Initiative.

The initiative, which is entering its third year of operation, is funded by Metallica and led by the American Association of Community Colleges. It aims to support students while also highlighting the importance of career and technical education.

To carry out the initiative, Hartnell will partner with the Grower-Shipper Association of Central California and the Veterans Transition Center of Monterey County.

Beginning in August, the partners will start working with 20 veterans who have been recipients of support services from the VTC. VTC provides local veterans and their families housing, counseling, and employment training.

The participating veterans will complete Hartnell courses in diesel mechanics and related skills, while also being paid for on-the-job training that will be completed with GSA member companies in the Salinas Valley. The participants will also receive a toolbox with basic equipment worth $2,300.

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Taylor Farms, Automated Harvesting LLC, Dole Fresh Vegetables and Braga Fresh are the companies currently taking part in the program.

Christopher Valadez, the president of the Grower-Shipper Association, said veterans normally have abilities that are extremely adaptable to working in the ag industry, such as working under pressure, planning, and logistics connections. 

“We believe this can be the beginning of a new and lasting relationship that connects the Salinas Valley agricultural sector with our local veterans' community,” Valadez said.

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