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Free Job Training Offered Through UH Community Colleges

July 24, 2022, 2:00 PM HST
* Updated July 24, 11:50 AM
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Certified nurse aide training at Leeward Community College in Pearl City, Oʻahu. (Images courtesy of University of Hawai‘i)

With many local employers seeking to fill vacant positions, University of Hawai‘i community colleges are continuing to offer free short-term training that leads to industry credentials in the sectors of health care, technology and the skilled trades.

Applications are now available for fall training through the Hana Career Pathways program.

A variety of sessions of different durations offered from August-December include certified nurse aide, information technology certification and courses such as heating, ventilation and air conditioning and arborist certification.

“Employers are stepping up to collaborate with UH community colleges to fill important, good paying jobs across the state,” UH Vice President for Community Colleges Erika Lacro said in a press release. “We hope our Hawaiʻi residents will seize this opportunity for free training, with hands-on experiences and support services, to gain employment in an exciting new field or to advance their careers.”

Hana Career Pathways prepares students to apply for registered apprenticeships and related degree programs and connects students with work-based learning opportunities such as paid internships and guaranteed interviews with local employers.

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Kristie Doss-Ching, a student in the certified nurse aide training program at Leeward Community College in Pearl City, Oʻahu, was one of 10 students offered employment as CNAs while in training.

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“Before class was even done, I had a job offer in hand, as did everyone in my class. Health care is a growing field, and nurses and CNAs especially are desperately needed right now all over the country, and especially here in Hawaiʻi,” Doss-Ching said in the press release. “I joined the training program because I had been furloughed from the job that I had worked in hospitality for more than 30 years, since March 2020 due to COVID. I knew I wasn’t getting any younger, that health care is a growing field, I had some experience caring for family members and I knew that I could do this. I knew that I wanted to learn more about the skills side of nursing and I needed a job, so this was a win-win opportunity for me.”

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 to students, including college and career advising, referrals to community partners with supportive services and other financial assistance.

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“The demand for entry level health care jobs has increased materially during the pandemic and is expected to remain high. We appreciate the collaboration with the UH community colleges to create programs that combine the training and employment process,” Janna Hoshide, Healthcare Association of Hawaiʻi senior director of workforce development, said in the press release. “Through this program, employers also provide additional on-the-job skills training to support the student’s transition to the new job. This innovative model has enabled students to start new careers in health care as well as helped our members to fill critical positions, but there remains a large need for additional students to fill a variety of open positions across the state.”

For more information or to apply for training opportunities, click here.

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