Metallica’s All Within My Hands awards Polk State College $100,000 workforce training grant

Posted on by Polk Newsroom

Polk State College is proud to be one of 15 schools across the nation to receive a $100,000 grant from All Within My Hands as part of the Metallica Scholars Initiative.

All Within My Hands is a nonprofit organization founded by members of the band Metallica and is dedicated to creating sustainable communities by supporting workforce education, the fight against hunger, and critical local services. In partnership with the American Association of Community Colleges, the initiative is providing direct support to Polk State’s Computer Numeric Control (CNC) Machining Program, including scholarships for unemployed and underemployed individuals to complete the eight-week program’s short-term training courses as well as funds for students to take exams for six National Institute for Metalworking Skills (NIMS) certifications that will qualify them for in-demand, high-wage jobs.

“Support from Metallica’s All Within My Hands will transform the lives of 64 students who will receive the quality training and supporting resources they need to achieve rewarding careers,” Polk State President Angela Garcia Falconetti said. “Their future careers will positively impact the economic development of Polk County, where hundreds of companies are actively seeking highly skilled machinists to fulfill their workforce needs.”

In Polk County, machinists of all types are in high demand, with a 5.9 percent projected growth rate over the next five years. Nationally, the number of CNC machine tool operators is forecasted to increase 17 percent within that timeframe.

That is why in 2017, Polk State launched its CNC program to train the next generation of highly skilled machinists for Polk County’s more than 100 machining companies. More than 180 machinists have been trained through the program so far.

Darah Greenwald is a 2018 graduate of the program who completed both the operator and programming tracks. She was immediately employed upon graduation like many completers of the program, which boasts a 94 percent job-placement rate and a nearly 98 percent pass rate on all NIMS certification exams, illustrating Polk State’s success in creating a talent pipeline of skilled machinists.

“I went from working in fast food and not knowing anything about machining, to having a high-paying job in the field,” said Greenwald, who serves as a machinist for international company JBT in Lakeland. “Polk State provided me with everything I needed to get a job and everything I learned helps me every day in my career. My job as a machinist has given me a sense of livelihood and I encourage everyone to try it out – it can change your life.”

Polk State’s first cohort of students with the Metallica Scholars Initiative will start the CNC Machining Program in August. Individuals who are interested in the program should contact Coordinator Jamie Rowan at or 863.837.5954.

About Polk State College

Located in Winter Haven, Florida, and established in 1964, Polk State College is a multi-campus institution serving more than 16,000 students with Bachelor of Applied Science, Bachelor of Science, Associate in Arts, and Associate in Science degrees, as well as 12,000 students in the Polk State Corporate College with a wide range of certificate and workforce training options. The College also operates three charter high schools.

Polk State’s advantages include small class sizes; hands-on learning; dedicated faculty; day and night classes; online options; affordable tuition; excellent financial aid; and a diverse community and vibrant student life, including fine arts opportunities, clubs, and intercollegiate athletics. Visit for more.

About All Within My Hands

AWMH is a non-profit, philanthropic organization created by the members and management of Metallica dedicated to creating sustainable communities by supporting workforce education, the fight against hunger, and other critical local services. 100% of donations go directly to local organizations that the Foundation supports. Please visit: for more information.

About American Association of Community Colleges

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 more than 1,000 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.