The state’s seven community colleges are receiving nearly $10 million in grant funding from the U.S. Department of Labor to support job-training programs in the information technology and health care industries.

All in all, the labor department is setting aside more than $450 million in grants this year to community colleges across the country — marking the last year of a four-year initiative that will have given schools $2 billion total.

The idea is to expand the capacity of community colleges to provide training in partnership with local employers.

Leighton K. Kaonohi, PA-C, checks blood pressure of Nihoa K. Kaonohi at the Ko'olauloa Health Center at Kahuku Intermediate and High School.  2.21.14 ©PF Bentley/Civil Beat

Health aides, such as this one at Kahuku High & Intermediate’s clinic, are one example of a field that could expand under the U.S. Department of Labor’s job-training grants.

©PF Bentley/Civil Beat

Through this year’s grant, the Hawaii community colleges, a consortium being led by the University of Hawaii — Maui College, are aimed at providing participating students entry-level certificates in cybersecurity, school health assistance and community health. Targeted students include workers eligible under the federal Trade Adjustment Assistance program, those in need of updated training, women and minorities and veterans.

The biggest award for Hawaii is worth nearly $5 million and is going toward UH — Maui College.

“The nearly $10 million investment in Hawaii colleges announced today will help prepare local workers with the skills needed for in-demand careers and advance the role of community colleges as engines of economic growth,” said U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez in a statement.

The department has given Hawaii more than $52 million total in grants over the past four years.

The objective is for colleges to expand their engagement with employers and provide “on-the-job training opportunities that will help quickly connect ready-to-work Americans with ready-to-be-filled jobs,” a press release says. All the course materials developed using public funds will be available as “Open Educational Resources.”

 

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