A University of Hawai‘i Community Colleges program that previously limited its services to unemployed and underemployed residents was recently expanded to include those who are employed.
More Hawai‘i residents are now eligible to apply for free short-term trainings leading to industry credentials in health care, technology and the skilled trades through the Hana Career Pathways program. The program connects students with work-based learning opportunities and guaranteed interviews with employers. It also prepares students to apply for registered apprenticeships and related degree programs.
“The Hana Career Pathways grant has now expanded our eligibility criteria to include incumbent workers in need of upskilling, as well as continuing to support unemployed and underemployed residents seeking job opportunities,” program manager Nicolette van der Lee said in a press release. “Expanding the eligibility criteria enables us to provide training to more Hawai‘i residents and support the project objectives to increase the number of participants in in-demand college and career pathways.”
More than $2 million in Hana Career Pathways funding from the U.S. Department of Education is available for tuition this year. 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, including college and career advising, referrals to community partners with supportive services and other financial assistance.
All trainings are designed to help participants find living wage career pathways. New training opportunities are updated quarterly.
With some of the highest unemployment rates during the COVID-19 pandemic and high cost of living, the program sought to support the state’s recovery from the negative workforce impacts of the pandemic. By expanding eligibility to now include all working residents as well, the project will support increasing earning potential, career advancement and attainment of industry credentials for all eligible Hawai‘i residents.