Paying it Forward
Alum Janet Metcalf was hoping for economic and job security when she received her Machine Tool Certification in 1982.
“I knew that if I had a certificate from the program (then the Minneapolis Technical Institute), my qualifications would not be questioned for jobs in the machine tool industry.”
But that was “not exactly the case,” Metcalf recalls. “In one interview the hiring person was very nervous and said he thought I might work out at a job in the filing/deburring department, the least skilled part of machining, because women had small hands and were good with repetitive tasks.”
Metcalf went on to complete a four-year apprenticeship program through the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry, become a journeyman machinist, and build a successful career during her 20 years in the field. Now she has created The Janet Metcalf Trades and Technical Careers Scholarship Fund to support others trying to break into the field.
Metcalf hopes her $25,000 gift will help diversify representation in the trades and technical careers to include more women, mid-career individuals, and BIPOC students and assist students returning to the workforce or changing careers. Scholarships will support students through completion of a college certificate or degree program for up to two years.
"I decided to enroll in the Machine Tool Certificate Program because I was looking for a skill that I could sell on the job market. I took a night class in basic machining to see if I would like it, which I did!” She entered the 18-month certificate program while working nights as a janitor.
“I have always been so thankful for all the support I received while pursuing my career,” Metcalf said.
“I had hoped that I would have money to give a scholarship to help another student who was going back to school, starting over with a new career or had taken a break from work or school.”
To be considered, students must demonstrate financial need, be registered for at least six credits, be degree-seeking with a priority on the trades (CNC Machining, in particular), and live or work in Minnesota. Naturally, life circumstances will also be taken into consideration.
“The student population and the trades and technical fields programs at Minneapolis College are the perfect match for this scholarship,” Metcalf said.
“And the best part—this is where I got all my machinist training!”