Metalheads graduate Polk State machinist program with scholarship help from Metallica

Polk State College students are singing the praises of the heavy metal band Metallica.
Metallica, through its All Within My Hands Foundation, donated $100,000 to the college, which paid tuition for students in Industrial Maintenance and Machining.

In other words, students of metal.

They received their degrees on Wednesday at the school’s campus in Bartow.

“This was such a better experience than I ever imagined,” Christopher Needham told FOX 13.

Needham has been struggling financially and otherwise and hopes his new degree opens doors for him.

“It is finally time to see the light,” he said.

The program takes about two months to complete at Polk State. Elsewhere, it can take up to two years.

The college says recent graduates can earn $30,000 a year or more. Experienced machinists can make $100,000 a year.

Polk State says almost all of its recent graduates are employed within a month working for companies like Coca-Cola, or Florida's citurs industry making custom machines and parts.

Their resumes should stand out when they do apply for a job. One of their assignments is to make parts for NASA which are used on the International Space Station. The parts cannot even be a hair off.

“Everything has to be to those specifications,” said Jamie Rowan, who oversees the machinist program. “Because people’s lives are at stake.”

Click here for more information about the program and how to apply.