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A new partnership between Hawaiʻi Community College and a local public access television station is providing valuable on-the-job experience for students and also serves as an example of the type of “learn and earn” partnerships the college hopes to continue developing.

Six Hawaiʻi CC students majoring in creative media were part of an inaugural internship cohort at public access station Nā Leo TV in fall 2019. They spent the semester working on camera operation, audio engineering, graphics, video engineering, floor directing, editing and scriptwriting.

Creative media student Elisabeth Saras said putting her education to use in the field and learning on the job was incredibly valuable.

“From the first production we did I was on camera, operating a camera,” said Saras. “I didn’t know what I was doing but just having the encouragement, and you know, you learn on the spot and realize what not to do and what to do. I think that’s really important, and that’s what they provided for us.”

In addition to the workplace experience, students earned college credit for their work at Nā Leo and also received a stipend. It’s not the first “learn and earn” program at the college, but it’s an example of the college’s renewed effort to add similar opportunities.

Chancellor Rachel Solemsaas said the college is currently seeking partners interested in hosting students as well as donors seeking to fund opportunities for students.

“Hearing from the students who worked at Nā Leo on how eye-opening it was for them, just confirms to me the value of this type of opportunity,” said Solemsaas. “If students are able to earn money in addition to the credits and the experience, it can help support their education while building those soft skills often learned beyond the classroom.”

More About the Creative Media Program

Hawaiʻi CC established its creative media associate degree program in 2016, and since then enrollment has grown. There are currently 51 students majoring in creative media at Hawaiʻi CC. New technology is also helping the college to expand the reach of the program. Using state-of-the-art equipment, students learn photography, videography, video editing, graphic design, animation and more.

Creative media lecturer Steve Parente said program graduates can find work as graphic designers, photographers and more. “These are bread-and-butter jobs that are going to be anywhere.”

The creative media associate’s degree was built upon the success of a digital media arts certificate that has been offered at Hawaiʻi CC since 2005. The associate’s degree offers a higher level of training and the option to transfer to creative media bachelor’s degree programs at UH Mānoa or UH West Oʻahu.

—By Thatcher Moats

students filming
Noa Gagner, left, and Philip Bayly capture video footage in Hilo for a class assignment.
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