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A free training and employment program is gearing up to serve more than 1,000 unemployed or underemployed Hawaiʻi residents in 2022. The University of Hawaiʻi Community Colleges are offering short-term trainings statewide that lead to industry credentials in the resilient sectors of healthcare, technology and skilled trades through the Hana Career Pathways program. More than $2 million in funding from the U.S. Department of Education is available for tuition this year.

“A large part of the mission of our UH Community Colleges, especially in these challenging times, is to build a workforce pipeline that meets the needs of our local employers to fill high-demand, living wage jobs” said UH President David Lassner.

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The program prepares students to apply for registered apprenticeships and related degree programs, and connects students with work-based learning opportunities such as paid internships and guaranteed interviews with local employers.

Training offered in spring 2022 includes medical coding, pharmacy technician and certified nurse aide in the healthcare sector, cybersecurity and CompTIA industry certifications for IT-related jobs, and maintenance electrician, HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) and carpentry in the skilled trades leading to employment and apprenticeship pathways.

“I joined the program to gain access to the workforce while I further my education, and I was able to land an entry level position working in the field. I am now able to work and gain experience in the medical field while continuing school,” said Mare Kitabayashi, a recent graduate from the phlebotomy technician training program at Kapiʻolani Community College.

Eligible applicants receive tuition assistance for courses and other training costs such as books and industry certification exam fees. The program is free for most eligible participants, since many of the trainings provide a 100% tuition subsidy to cover all costs. Wrap-around services are also offered to students including college and career advising, referrals to community partners with supportive services, and other financial assistance.

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“As our state recovers from the coronavirus pandemic, programs like this that offer wrap-around support services are what will help kamaʻāina move ahead, gain high-value credentials and obtain careers that pay a family sustaining wage. Through our partnership with the project, our website Hawaii is Hiring offers resources to help trainees find jobs through our employer network,” said Keala Peters, Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii’s executive vice president for education and workforce development.

Visit to learn more and apply online for current trainings.

Financial support for the Hana Career Pathways was provided by the U.S. Department of Education federal grant #V425G200038, Reimagining Workforce Preparation: Hana Career Pathways, in the amount of $13,370,383.58 for the period of October 1, 2020–September 29, 2023. Grants from the Ascendium Education Group, Hawaiʻi Community Foundation and the Harold K.L. Castle Foundation support the UH Community Colleges’ coordination with industry partners in targeted sectors identified as recession-resilient in Hawaiʻi‘s Talent Roadmap to Recovery, issued by the Hawaiʻi Executive Collaborative.

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