UH Community Colleges awarded $24.6 million for job training

Hawaii receives largest award of federal initiative supporting training and workforce development

University of Hawaiʻi
Kristen Bonilla, (808) 956-5039
External Affairs and University Relations
Susan Lee, (808) 956-5852
UH Community Colleges
Posted: Sep 27, 2011

HONOLULU (September 27, 2011) – The University of Hawai‘i Community Colleges (UHCC), a leader in innovative teaching, will receive $24.6 million to partner with Hawai‘i’s businesses and state agencies to develop new training programs and support existing ones to provide pathways that lead to jobs in the agriculture, energy and health industries.
In support of Hawai‘i’s initiatives to diversify its economy and improve its food and energy self-sufficiency, the multi-year grant will provide UHCC with resources to integrate stronger online and technology components into curriculum development to help people complete their education and train for jobs that are needed in today’s highly competitive economy.
The grant money comes from the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training grant, part of the $500 million first-installment of a $2 billion, four-year investment designed to increase opportunities for the unemployed announced today by the U.S. Department of Labor.
“This is a wonderful testimony to the cooperative spirit here at the University of Hawai‘i and with our partners around the state,” said UH President M.R.C. Greenwood. “For one of the smallest states in the country to receive the largest award shows that others are also recognizing the level of excellence in our community colleges and the leadership they’re demonstrating in building the workforce and economic opportunities for Hawai‘i’s future."
“Innovation is the key to opening doors to new opportunities for our students,” said John Morton, UH vice president for community colleges. “This grant allows us to create, innovate and develop new approaches to aggressively train more students in occupations that offer the greatest potential for a diverse economy and a better quality of life for everyone.”
“This is an exceptional opportunity to raise the basic skill levels of many citizens of the state as well as to invest in economic sectors that Hawai‘i must develop and fortify,” said Peter Quigley, UHCC associate vice president for academic affairs. “The grant allows the UHCC system to reach out to adults or young people who have math and language skill needs and prepare them for certificate program training in health care, agriculture and energy sectors.”
“This statewide grant will allow the University of Hawai‘i Community College system to strengthen our many career and technical degree programs,” said Michael Rota, chancellor of Honolulu Community College, which is the lead campus for the UHCC consortium. “With the help of industry partners, our campuses will be better able to prepare individuals with essential skills necessary to be competitive and remain innovative in the workplace and contribute to the strengthening of our local economy.”
The UHCC sought the council of national advisors such as Complete College America and Jobs for the Future. In addition, UHCC relied on Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s New Day Plan, as well as the Hawai‘i Department of Labor’s Green Jobs Report and Health Care study, both of which emerged from the Department of Labor, Workforce Development Council Skill Panel conferences.
Hawai‘i Department of Labor and Industrial Relations Director Dwight Takamine said, “Working with the UHCC consortium through this grant will be the most significant advancement forward in bridging job training with academics. Federal funding towards job training helps workers gain the skills necessary to move the economy forward. The State Department of Labor and Industrial Relations, in partnering with the UHCC consortium, is positioned to help incumbent workers, future workers and the unemployed receive job skills necessary for employment.”
“The proposal was an exciting process of bringing the private sector together with state agencies and community organizations with leaders from the UHCC campuses,” said Quigley. “I was touched by the expressed concern of all participants to make Hawai‘i a better place to live and to provide an opportunity for better futures for those looking for a ‘New Day.’”
The UHCC consortium for this grant includes Hawai‘i Community College, Honolulu Community College (lead institution), Kapi‘olani Community College, Kaua‘i Community College, Leeward Community College, University of Hawai‘i Maui College and Windward Community College.
Support partners are Johnson Controls, Inc.; Pacific Biodiesel; Common Ground; Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc.; Sygenta; BASF Plant Science and Hawai‘i BioEnergy; Hawai‘i Pacific Health; Garden Isle Healthcare; Wilcox Memorial Hospital; State Department of Labor and Industrial Relations; the Workforce Investment Boards and One-Stops; State Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism; Hawai‘i Clean Energy Initiative (HCEI); County Economic Development Boards; and a variety of industry and community organizations and non-profit organizations.
The University of Hawai‘i Community Colleges (UHCC), part of the 10-campus University of Hawai‘i System, comprises seven degree-granting institutions, three University Centers, and education centers on Moloka‘i, Lana‘i, in Hana, Maui, and on the Wai‘anae Coast of O‘ahu. With more than 34,000 students, UHCC provides open-door access to affordable, high-quality education in a variety of programs from career and technical education to liberal arts education.