OHA award to support Windward Community College Options in Health program

Program to address critical need for health care workers

Windward Community College
Jamie Kamailani Boyd, (808) 235-7384
Employment Training Center
Posted: Jun 28, 2007

KANEʻOHE— The Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA) has awarded $150,000 to the Options in Health Careers Program at Windward Community College‘s Employment Training Center (ETC). ETC courses in this program are open to all students in the UH system.The grant will allow Windward‘s ETC to establish a culturally integrated program designed to help Native Hawaiian students — high school seniors and adult learners — fulfill their individual career goals and help meet the health care industry‘s human resource demands. Starting July 30, the Options in Health Careers Program will offer entry-level health career training, including a Certified Nurse‘s Aide course that incorporates Hawaiian cultural values and approaches to living well. There will be six program sessions over the next year."It‘s unacceptable that traditional healing methods are not being incorporated into entry-level health education curriculum in Hawaiʻi," said program coordinator Dr. Jamie Kamailani Boyd.OHA‘s mission for education programs is to facilitate culturally sound educational opportunities for Native Hawaiians and to promote academic success and lifelong learning. The Options in Health Careers Program will address these key areas:

    1 — A critical need for vocational health career training. The State projects an increase in the elder adult population by up to 20 percent within the next ten years, fueling the demand for Personal Care Aides (PCA) and Certified Nurse‘s Aides (CNA). The need for these entry-level workers represents one of the top ten fastest growing occupations in the country.

    2 — Low enrollment of Native Hawaiians in health science programs. Plans include pilot-testing health curriculum that combines traditional healing approaches and basic health science experiences in a Certified Nurse‘s Aide course. This curriculum will be tailored for Native Hawaiian vocational learning styles to spark student‘s interest in pursuing advanced studies.

    3- Bridging entry-level training to advanced studies. Collaborative relationships with science, health and cultural professionals will introduce students to relevant opportunities of learning not offered through existing CNA curriculum. For example, WCC‘s botany professor Dr. Inge White will introduce CNA students to the field of biotechnology through the Medicinal Garden Bioprocessing Complex at WCC.

    4- Development of data to support program improvement. Data from a study of this program will illuminate knowledge of Native Hawaiian students‘ perceptions about the supports and barriers to seeking and completing vocational training and transitioning to higher education and jobs. Knowledge gained will be used to improve curriculum design, internships and employment placement supports that are determined to be valued and desired by Native Hawaiians. This information will help ETC better serve all students.

    5-Perpetuate Native Hawaiian culture. The innovation of the program builds on indigenous training approaches (place-based, experiential learning and skill demonstration) that are responsive to Native Hawaiian students‘ vocational learning style. The addition of indigenous approaches to wellness (e.g. lāʻau lapaʻau, lomilomi, olapono) to the existing CNA curriculum will help Native Hawaiian students perpetuate traditional practices in the care they provide.

In addition to curriculum innovations, the Options in Health Careers program staff will collaborate with the Career Connections Center to provide academic and career guidance, as well as job placement services. Because lack of previous experience is a known barrier to employment, and financial responsibilities compel students to leave training to seek paying jobs, grant funds will provide externship stipends to Native Hawaiian students to cover the cost of uniforms, supplies, transportation and childcare.

The Options in Health Careers program welcomes health and cultural experts interested in being part of an advisory panel to inform curriculum development, interactive classroom instruction and meaningful placed-based field training.

Persons interested in enrolling in the program, or working with the program, are invited to contact Dr. Boyd at 235-7384 or email jamie.boyd@hawaii.edu. To register, call ETC counselor April Sadobal at 386-5886.

About Windward Community College
Founded in 1972, Windward Community College is primarily a liberal arts transfer institution and is the youngest community college in the University of Hawaii system. Windward offers the associate in arts degree and certificate programs in art, business, agricultural technology, biotechnology, Hawaiian studies, psychosocial development and marine options. In addition, Windward has partnered with Chaminade University to offer a bachelor's degree in criminal justice, and is host to the only art atelier in the state and one of few in the U.S. The college is also home to the state's Employment Training Center, where students develop the academic and technical skills necessary for entry-level employment. Creative programs at the Hawaiʻi Music Institute, Palikū Theatre, Hōkūlani Imaginarium and Gallery ʻIolani attract thousands of spectators to the campus every year. For more information, visit www.windward.hawaii.edu.