University of Hawaii workforce training, tuition subsidy aided by $16 million grantby adminAugust 11, 2022 Mahalo for supporting the Honolulu Star-Advertiser. Enjoy this free story! The University of Hawaii Community Colleges are working towards a sustainable workforce training system by establishing the Resilient Hawaii: Good Jobs Challenge initiative to train participants to obtain work certifications almost free of cost. The three-year initiative is the result of a $16.4 million grant UH received from the US Department of Commerce, and is expected to train 3,000 participants in clean energy, creative industries, health care and technology industries. Programs developed using the grant money aim to help those who lost their jobs due to COVID-19, as well as Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander communities to obtain certifications that will lead them to higher-paying jobs than the ones they lost, said UH President David Lassner. “Typically, students would have to pay out of pocket or work through one of our partners that may subsidize the cost for them,” said Leeward Community College Chancellor Carlos Penaloza regarding the certification programs. “And so for individuals who are not employed and not receiving financial aid, this is a very steep cost. … This grant is so important because this $16 million is intended to subsidize the cost to the students, which would help a lot more students get through the process.” The offered programs will be open to all demographics, Lassner said. But UH will be partnering with organizations such as We Are Oceania, Partners in Development and the Offices of Economic Development to alert Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander and other underserved communities to the programs, since they were heavily impacted by COVID-19. The initiative’s goal is to see 75% of its participants transition into good jobs, Penaloza said. The programs were created in collaboration with more than 70 employers, training providers, community-based organizations and other key stakeholders to develop employer-driven workforce development programs. Certification programs such as these are usually created with the assistance of employers who advise program developers on their volunteered time, Penaloza said. “Through this grant, we have major strategic folks connecting with us,” Penaloza said. “It’s just a lot easier when all of the stakeholders are in the same place.” Employers who collaborate on program developments will also be encouraged to hire employees from the pool of participants. These combined efforts will hopefully increase students’ likelihood in obtaining careers, Penaloza said. The benefits of the initiative will also be felt by employers who are struggling to hire employees, Lassner said. “They’re struggling to find people, and ideally people in Hawaii who they know are likely to be committed and successful here,” Lassner said. By developing the programs alongside employers in each targeted industry, the initiative hopes to increase the number of participants joining the workforce upon their completion of the included programs. The four industries being developed were selected due to recent demand in the sectors, Penaloza said. However, there has been a significant surge in demand for health care professions, he said. Lassner said that while the four industries are the current focus, they could shift depending on the demands of the workforce industry. Programs will be available at Hawaii, Honolulu, Kapiolani, Kauai, Leeward and Windward community colleges, as well as UH Maui College. Many will be implemented alongside existing certification programs Courses can range from two weeks to about a year long, and some are already available on the UH website, Penaloza said. Lassner and Penaloza both expressed hopes to continue offering the developed programs beyond the initiative’s three designated years. The current plan will strengthen certification programs that already exist, Penaloza said. But the goal is to increase capacity and sustain each program’s efforts beyond the granting period. Related Tags:BusinessEditors Leave a Reply Cancel replyYour email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *Name * Email * Website Comment * Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.