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Students troubleshooting a fault in an electronic control circuit

Leeward Community College was one of 10 U.S. colleges selected to participate in a new initiative supported by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Career, Technical and Adult Education. The Pathways to Credentials initiative will provide technical assistance for each college to address workforce needs in the community, and facilitate peer learning through the cohort.

“We are certainly excited to be part of this initiative and to learn from the cohort of colleges. We owe it to our students to help them progress in their career and technical education (CTE) program of study and obtain a postsecondary credential with labor market value,” said Ron Umehira, dean of CTE at Leeward CC.

The 10 colleges selected for Pathways to Credentials were:

Railcar parked at the maintenance facility near Leeward CC campus
  • Community College of Aurora/Colorado Northwestern Community College (Colo.)
  • University of District of Columbia Community College (D.C.)
  • Lake-Sumter State College (Fla.)
  • Leeward CC (Hawaiʻi)
  • Malcolm X College (Ill.)
  • Southern University – Shreveport (La.)
  • Ocean County College (N.J.)
  • Onondaga Community College (N.Y.)
  • Community College of Allegheny County (Pa.)
  • North Central Texas College (Texas)

Leeward CC’s new Integrated Industrial Technology (IIT) degree program was identified as the area of focus, dealing with an emerging industry sector relating to transportation, manufacturing and utilities. The program offers a two-year associate in science degree and related certificates and will prepare students for a wide range of careers such as manufacturing and electromechanical systems technicians in industrial automation.

A team of eight faculty and staff will work with a coach and subject matter expert to advance their efforts in stackable credential design, employer engagement, industry certification alignment and non-credit/credit integration.

Umehira said, “The greatest value of participating in this initiative is that we can apply the knowledge and practices learned to not only our IIT program but also to our other CTE and workforce development programs.”

This initiative, which runs through July 2021, will ultimately help students gain entry into the workforce by providing the college with resources to align instruction and certification with current industry standards. Leeward CC’s team has already networked with two of the cohort colleges, Community College of Allegheny County and North Central Texas College, which have a mechatronics and advanced manufacturing program respectively.

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Student configuring a motor control system for a pump station
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