By  –  Web Editor, Pacific Business News

The University of Hawaii community colleges are offering a free training and employment program for unemployed and underemployed Hawaii residents, UH officials announced Thursday.

The Hana Career Pathways program, which is funded by more than $2 million from the U.S. Department of Education, offers short-term training statewide that lead to industry credentials in the healthcare, technology and skilled trades industries. Through the program students prepare to apply for registered apprenticeships and related degree programs, and connect with work-based learning opportunities such as paid internships and interviews with local employers.

“A large part of the mission of our UH Community Colleges, especially in these challenging times, is to build a workforce pipeline that meets the needs of our local employers to fill high-demand, living wage jobs” said UH President David Lassner in a statement.

Training offered in spring 2022 includes medical coding, pharmacy technician and certified nurse aide in healthcare; cybersecurity and CompTIA industry certifications for IT-related jobs; and maintenance electrician, HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) and carpentry in the skilled trades.

“I joined the program to gain access to the workforce while I further my education, and I was able to land an entry level position working in the field. I am now able to work and gain experience in the medical field while continuing school,” said Mare Kitabayashi, a recent graduate from the phlebotomy technician training program at Kapiolani Community College, in a statement.

Eligible applicants in the Hana program 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.

Other services are also offered to students including college and career advising, referrals to community partners with supportive services, and other financial assistance, according to UH officials. Click here to learn more or apply for current training opportunities.

“As our state recovers from the coronavirus pandemic, programs like this that offer wrap-around support services are what will help kamaaina move ahead, gain high-value credentials and obtain careers that pay a family sustaining wage,” said Keala Peters, Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii’s executive vice president for education and workforce development, in a statement.

“Through our partnership with the project, our website Hawaii is Hiring offers resources to help trainees find jobs through our employer network.”

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