Workforce Wednesday: Sydney Sayre finds success with Metallica Scholars, looks to help other women in skilled trades

Sydney Sayre’s accepting her certificate of completion, smiling.

It can be a long and winding road when it comes to finding your passion and turning it into a career. Sydney Sayre’s journey led her to become a Metallica Scholar.

“I went to Western Michigan University and studied social work,” Sayre said. “I took a break from that to join AmeriCorps and did that for about three years. By the time I finished, I realized that the social work field was not for me.”

Sayre started looking into the possibility of learning a professional trade.

“I didn’t see a lot of opportunities for women. I was working for a concert venue doing production and these bands would come in with semi-trucks and set up these massive stages – it was amazing! That led me to take a Women Who Weld bootcamp in Detroit for a week – I absolutely loved it!”

The GRCC Metallica Scholars Welding Bootcamp offers people the opportunity to gain skills for entry level welding positions.  It is a short-term program to get welders work in West Michigan. The goal is to help people grow into apprenticeships or other learning opportunities within the welding field. 

“I’ve had my eye on this program since it started,” Sayre said. “I’ve been waiting for the timing to be right and I’m so glad it came together!”

Sayre said it turned out to be even better than she thought it could be.

“What really surprised me the most is how good the instruction is and how supportive Nick Pinkney and Bri Lampe are. They just want to see you succeed. It’s kind of like a mentorship almost. They really care about you and your goals.”  

The hands-on training program meets for 14 weeks and includes OSHA training.

“It’s a lot of information in a short time span but it’s all good information and I like the way Nick presents it. He’s very approachable and willing to answer questions.”

The program goal is to build an accessible pathway into the field of welding with a focus on producing ready-to-work welders for Kent County companies. This program works to attract, retain, and graduate individuals of different genders and racial/ethnic backgrounds to welding careers.

“I was impressed with how you have been able to recruit a diverse population. We have so much fun together!” she said.

Now that Sayre has completed the program, she wants more!

“I am transferring from where I go to school now to come here. Just seeing how the welding program is set up, I know that’s what I want to do and I want to be here at GRCC.

“I know that I would like to work as a welder but I’m not 100 percent sure what exactly I want to do. Definitely something creative or maybe working with production for a band. I’m really interested in getting women into skilled trades. I’m working on creating a supportive network so that women can be successful. I loved this program. It has been phenomenal.”

To qualify for the program, participants must be 18 years of age, have a high school diploma or GED, and be able to work in the United States. For more information go to

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