Maui Business

$24M Federal Workforce Grant Brings Training to Maui

September 28, 2011, 9:59 AM HST
* Updated September 28, 5:09 PM
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University of Hawaii Maui College campus. Courtesy of UHMC.

By Sonia Isotov

The Hawaii congressional delegation announced Monday that the University of Hawaii’s Community Colleges will receive $24,653,118 in federal grant monies to partner with local businesses and state agencies to create and continue workforce development programs.

The federal funds are part of $500 million in grants to community colleges around the country announced by US Department of Labor and US Department of Education.

The grant comes from the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) initiative and supports partnerships between community colleges and employers to develop programs that provide pathways to good jobs, including curriculum that meets specific industry needs.

John McKee, Ed.D., Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs. Photo courtesy of UHMC.

“The TAACCT grant resources will greatly assist our efforts to support our Developmental Math and English students as they complete a college degree or certificate program and on to employment. It provides a complete pathway from our programs to workforce development,” said John McKee, vice chancellor for academic affairs at the University of Hawaii Maui College.

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The program will have private sector partners that will support the program as it transitions students into the workforce.

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“Local workforce development is important if we want to create truly sustainable local jobs. Pacific Biodiesel recognizes that our greatest asset is our employee base and we are happy to partner with the community colleges on grants like these, which will help Hawaii residents find fulfilling jobs in the growing field of clean energy,” said Kelly King, vice president, Pacific Biodiesel, a supporting business partner for the program.

Bob and Kelly King, owners Pacific Biodiesel. Photo courtesy of Pacific Biodiesel.

Programs like TAACCT are especially important to the recovery of the local economy.

“Many workers who’ve been hit hard by the recession will have the chance to gain the skills and education they need to qualify for much-needed jobs in agriculture, energy, and health care,” said Congresswoman Hirono, a member of the US House Committee on Education and the Workforce, and an original co-sponsor of the legislation supporting this initiative. “Through partnerships with local businesses and its innovative training programs, the UH Community Colleges Consortium will create opportunities for Hawaii’s workers, helping our state move toward a sustainable and secure future.”

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“While American households are struggling to get by we must continue to educate our young people and provide them with a clear path to employment. By helping Hawaii’s community colleges partner with local businesses to develop programs that end with a job we are giving our young people a very real opportunity to succeed. I am very pleased that despite these difficult economic times the administration recognizes the need to invest in education,” said Senator Inouye.

Hawaii Department of Labor and Industrial Relations Director Dwight Takamine said, “Working with the UHCC consortium through this grant will be the most significant advancement forward in bridging job training with academics. Federal funding towards job training helps workers gain the skills necessary to move the economy forward. The state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations, in partnering with the UHCC consortium, is positioned to help incumbent workers, future workers and the unemployed receive job skills necessary for employment.”

The University of Hawaii Community College Consortium includes Hawaii Community College (HCC); Kapiolani Community College (KCC); Kauai Community College (KauiCC); Leeward Community College (LCC); University of Hawaii Maui College (UHMC); Windward Community College (WCC).

The Hawaii business partners are: Johnson Controls, Inc.; Pacific Biodiesel; Common Ground; Pioneer Hi‐Bred International, Inc.; Sygenta; BASF Plant Science and Hawaii BioEnergy; Hawaii Pacific Health; Garden Isle Healthcare; and Wilcox Memorial Hospital.

Other project partners are: state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations; the Workforce Investment Boards and One‐Stops; state Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism; Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative (HCEI); County Economic Development Boards; and a variety of industry and community organizations and non‐profits.

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