The University of Hawaiʻi Maui College, Kauaʻi Community College and Hawaiʻi Community College have been awarded $12.7 million from the U.S. Department of Labor for workforce development and training in rural Hawaiʻi.
“This grant reflects the common needs and opportunities in our neighbor island communities to connect our students and residents with competencies and possibilities that will be part of our economic future,” said Sakamoto, who serves as the principal investigator for the project. “It further leverages active partnerships among our colleges and rural communities that address the potential of rural counties in Hawaiʻi.”
Enhanced curriculum benefits local workforce and employers
Programs and courses will be updated, redesigned or introduced in business and accounting, geographic information systems, food innovation and safety, sustainability, electric vehicle automotive, and water/wastewater treatment. The courses will be delivered in hybrid formats including classroom and online modes with innovative assessment technologies to measure student learning and competencies.
The proposal also strengthens student services by adding staff to assess prior learning experiences, expanding career counseling, and supporting internships and placements. It will also build capacity for tracking the education, training and services impact on students bound for further education or employment.
The program specifically targets workers who may have lost their jobs to overseas competition, as well as unemployed workers, workers seeking jobs requiring higher-level skills, and veterans transitioning to the workforce.
Funding is part of federal workforce development initiative
The UH Community Colleges received a similar grant for $24.6 million in September 2011 as part of the first round of the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training initiative, a $2 billion, four-year investment designed to increase opportunities for the unemployed. The U.S. Department of Labor is implementing and administering the program in coordination with the U.S. Department of Education.
The Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training initiative promotes skills development and employment opportunities in fields such as advanced manufacturing, transportation and health care, as well as science, technology, engineering and math careers through partnerships between training providers and local employers.
It complements President Barack Obama’s broader goals to help ensure that every American has at least one year of postsecondary education and the United States has the highest proportion of college graduates in the world by 2020.
Read the news release.