The Hawai’i State Legislature has approved $455,000 in funding for the next two fiscal years to support a new workforce education and training program called Hawai’i Nutrition Employment and Training (HINET).
The program supplies financially struggling students with financial assistance that can amount to over $4,700 a year for food, transportation, books and other education costs.
HINET was established in 2015 by the State of Hawai’i Department of Human Services and Windward Community College to reduce education costs for Hawai’i’s most underrepresented populations and help them obtain good paying jobs.
There are 290 students from the University of Hawai’i (UH) Community College who are enrolled in the HINET program at four campuses, according to University of Hawai’i News.
With the additional funds, the program hopes to expand to 1,000 students at all seven UH Community College campuses in a year to help more students to be successful.
“We’ve done a great job here at UH in working with the [Hawaiʻi State Department of Human Services] 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 UH president Dr. David Lassner.
Approximately 58 percent of the students enrolled in HINET are Native Hawaiian, which is higher than the overall percentage of Native Hawaiians attending UH Community Colleges, 35 percent.
In order to qualify to the workforce education and training program, students are required to be enrolled at a UH community college and in a workforce certificate training program or take at least six credits in an approved degree program. The students are also required to qualify for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and HINET can assist with the paperwork if necessary.