U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye offers support to UH Maui College programs

July 9, 2010, 1:18 AM HST · Updated January 7, 10:13 AM
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Expressing his appreciation for the array of programs in higher education established at University of Hawaii Maui College, U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye offered his help during a luncheon meeting Thursday.

U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye listens to presentations on programs and plans at University of Hawai`i Maui College Thursday at the college. “If people have a program that needs support, let me know about it. While I’m there, tell me what you need,” he said. Photo Courtesy UH-Maui College.

Inouye offered his help with an air of caution letting administrators know that programs he can support with grants and allocations should eventually be self-sustaining.

As the longest-serving member of the Senate, Inouye is the Senate president pro-tempore, placing him third in line for presidential succession after Vice President Joe Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Inouye continues to serve as chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee – a position that had him convene a committee hearing at the Hawaii State Capitol on Wednesday to review the state’s use of federal stimulus funds from the American Rehabilitation and Recovery Act.

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Inouye’s visit to UH Maui College provided an opportunity for Chancellor Clyde Sakamoto and his program directors to expound upon accomplishments and plans for four-year degree programs. There was discussion of an array of sustainability and renewable energy projects, the Maui Culinary Academy and Allied Health programs for dental health and expanded options in nursing

Inouye also was presented a draft of a report on accomplishments of the Rural Development Project, which just received a renewed allocation of $3.9 million for workforce training programs around the state. Since it was initiated as a pilot project in 1997, the RDP has provided direct training for more than 27,000 people around Hawaii, Sakamoto reported.

There are thousands more beneficiaries assisted as a result of the training, he said, citing as an example the Maui Oral Health Center. Established to provide practical training for students, the center offers dental health services to more than 10,000 low-income Maui residents each year.

Sen. Daniel Inouye made a luncheon visit to University of Hawai`i Maui College on Thursday, accompanied by his wife, Irene HIrano Inouye. Photo courtesy UH-Maui College.

Assisted by Nancy Johnson, director of Allied Health; Chris Speere director of the Maui Culinary Academy; Dan Regan, director of the RDP, and other top UHMC officials, Sakamoto outlined the college programs. The presentation included UHMC participation in the Advanced Technology Solar Telescope on Haleakala, a “Math Lab” project providing mathematics instruction in high schools to better prepare students for college, archaeological field studies at Palauea and the Moku`ula site, a collaboration on developing sustainable science curriculum with Johnson Controls Inc. and a possible partnership for an industrial lab facility with IBM for research and development of new products.

Speere described the Maui Culinary Academy program that combines academic instruction with practical experience for students who operate the campus’ Pa`ina dining facility and the Leis Family Class Act restaurant. He also introduced students who are part of a culinary lab that develops new products from Maui-grown agricultural products.

Johnson explained plans for advanced training opportunities in nursing focusing on plans for a UHMC bachelors in applied science degree in health care specializing in gerontology and opportunities for nurse practitioner programs.

Sen. Inouye expressed gratitude for Sakamoto’s vision and persistence saying, “I know he has plenty of both.” He also welcomed the College’s ideas saying, “I’d like you to give me a list of the things you have envisioned and what more you would like to have.”

(Posted by Wendy Osher; supporting information courtesy UH Maui College)

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