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Wolverine, Metallica support education in the trades

Swatches | February 1, 2024 | By:

The 2023 limited-edition sneakers by Wolverine Inc., a 140-year-old boot and clothing company, that sold out in just a few days. Half of the proceeds went to Metallica Scholars, a scholarship fund focusing on the trades. Image: Wolverine

The labor shortage is sad but true: Skilled tradespeople are retiring faster than students are stepping up to replace them. Among the workforce pipeline efforts is a partnership of boot company Wolverine Inc. and rock band Metallica. In mid-November 2023, Wolverine created a limited-edition black leather high-top sneaker, with half of the proceeds donated to Metallica’s trade education scholarship fund, Metallica Scholars. The sneakers sold out in just days. It was the fourth product partnership between the company and the band’s foundation, which has grown to include co-branded apparel that is sold on the brand’s website and at the group’s shows.

In 2023, Metallica’s foundation, All Within My Hands, announced further funding of $1.85 million for Metallica Scholars and added 11 community colleges to the list of schools receiving $100,000 grants—for a total of 42 schools in 33 states. The program has invested about $6 million in programs affecting 6,000 students. The foundation was launched in 2019 in partnership with the American Association of Community Colleges, starting with 10 colleges and mainly manufacturing programs. Metallica Scholars now also supports fire training, culinary arts and hospitality. All Within My Hands also supports food banks, disaster relief funds and other local initiatives.

Wolverine partners with several organizations supporting the skilled trades through its Project Bootstrap. Since 2019, the company has donated more than $2 million through these partnerships, including more than $750,000 to All Within My Hands. Over the same period Wolverine has had similar brand partnerships with companies such as Ram Trucks, where it donates a portion of the proceeds from sales of limited-edition boots and gear. It has also donated hundreds of pairs of boots to students in trades education and promotes SkillsUSA National Signing Day, where students sign letters of intent to study trades such as construction, HVAC or plumbing, residential wiring or other career tracks. Wolverine celebrated its 140-year anniversary in 2023.

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