Hawai‘i Legislature Funds HINET

April 17, 2019, 4:25 PM HST (Updated April 17, 2019, 4:25 PM)
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The Hawai‘i State Legislature has approved $455,000 for each of the next two fiscal years for Hawai‘i Nutrition Employment and Training (HINET), a life-changing workforce education and training program which stands for Hawai‘i Nutrition Employment and Training.

“Having HINET to help me with that food cost, it helped me to be able to continue college. It helped me to buy those textbooks that I needed,” said Bernadette Rose Garrett. Courtesy UH.

HINET provides students assistance that can total more than $4,700 a year for food, transportation, books and other expenses.

University of Hawai‘i Community College students (290) are currently enrolled in HINET at four campuses. The goal with the added funding is to expand to 1,000 students at all seven UH Community College campuses in a year, helping more students to succeed.

Students enrolled in HINET persisted, or returned for another year, at the rate of 72%, compared with 51% overall for the UH Community Colleges.

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HINET is helping Native Hawaiians. Of the students enrolled in HINET, 58% are Native Hawaiian, much higher than the Native Hawaiian population in UH Community Colleges (35%).

“We’ve done a great job here at UH in working with DHS and creating a truly win-win program that helps the students that need us the most, with food, with support, with all of the ancillary things that they need to go to college to get the skills they need to get a great job so they can support themselves and their families for years to come,” said David Lassner, University of Hawai‘i president.

To qualify for HINET, students must enroll at a UH community college and enroll in a workforce certificate training program or take at least six credits in an approved degree program. They must also qualify for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly called food stamps, and HINET can help with the paperwork.

Students in the HINET program may substitute their education and employment training for the USDA 20-hour weekly work requirement. This allows them to maintain their benefits while pursuing a college education.

Current and prospective community college students are encouraged to visit the HINET website or go to a HINET office on campus.

Other facts:

  • HINET began operations in 2015 and was developed by the State of Hawai‘i Department of Human Services in partnership with Windward Community College.
  • The U.S. Department of Agriculture reimburses 50% of non-federal funds spent in support of HINET.
  • As more state and philanthropic dollars are invested in HINET, more USDA dollars will flow to HINET, helping to reach more students.
  • Donations to support HINET will be matched by 50% and can be made by going online or calling (808) 956-8849 if you wish to make a credit card gift over the phone.
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