UNION, Mo. — Before he braised his first copper pipe, Herman Hueffmeier was interested in HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) systems.

“I could never do it with schooling, the time, the money. Money’s a big thing,” he said.

Putting food on the table meant setting aside his passion.

“Yeah, there’s not much time for anything else right now,” Hueffmeier said.

Jessica Brown has a similar story.

“It’s something that’s always interested me. I wanted to learn it at a young age,” she said. “I know that the cubicle world isn’t for me. I’m an active person and this is something that fits me well, I think.”

Both were ready to turn the page on their careers, so Hueffmeier and Brown took the road less traveled to East Central College in Union, Missouri.

In June, the college received a $100,000 donation from rock band Metallica’s nonprofit, the All Within My Hands Foundation. The band’s Metallica Scholars Initiative offers scholarships to students pursuing careers in welding, HVAC, industrial maintenance, and precision machining.

“It’s huge for the band,” Renee Richardson, the foundation’s director of philanthropy, said.

“We could really see that there was a need. We could see that the schools had students that wanted to learn these careers, and we could use Metallica’s voice to amplify that these are great jobs.”

These Metallica scholarship recipients are using the funds to fuel their futures.

“It’s really cool that they use their popularity to give back,” Brown said. “I couldn’t be more grateful.”

“I just can’t thank them enough,” Hueffmeier said. “It’s meant that much to me.”

Hardwired for success, these students say nothing else matters as they strive to achieve their career goals.

“I had an opportunity and I seized it and ran with it,” Hueffmeier said.

A heavy metal band is helping forge the next generation of metalworkers. That’s music to our ears.