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Maui CC Receives $10 Million in Grants for Rural Development and Job Training Programs

Largest award to date to a community college in Hawaii

Maui College
John Dunnicliffe, (808) 984-3300
Statewide Project Director
Posted: Jul 15, 2003

Maui Community College (Maui CC) announced that it has received $10 million in grants for rural development and job training programs on Maui, Molokaʻi, Lanaʻi, Kauaʻi and the Big Island through the U.S. Department of Labor. This is the largest award to date to a community college in the state of Hawaiʻi. In 2002, Maui CC received a $6.9-million award from the U.S. Department of Labor, which until now was the largest award to a community college in Hawaiʻi.

Statewide coordination of the $5-million Rural Development Project (RDP) and the $5-million Rural Job Training Initiative (RJTI) will be administered by the RDP office on the Maui CC campus under the direction of Statewide Project Director John Dunnicliffe. Dr. Clyde Sakamoto, Maui CC chancellor, is the principal investigator for the grants. Sakamoto noted that this grant "addresses some of the state‘s most complex economic and educational challenges with a focus on long-range and lasting impacts."

Through Maui CC, the RDP also provides funding to Hawaiʻi and Kauaʻi Community Colleges to develop workforce training programs that contribute to sustainable economic development and diversification in rural communities. The RJTI focuses on enhancing the employment potential of individuals in rural communities, with an emphasis on high-demand professions such as education and health care. Selected project initiatives must continue beyond the life of the federal grant to meet the sustainability test.

U.S. Senator Daniel K. Inouye was instrumental in establishing the RDP in 1997. The original rural development grant of $200,000 was awarded in 1997 to Lanaʻi. The funding evolved from Senator Inouye‘s desire to address the needs expressed by the Lanaʻi community for assistance with computer literacy, leadership training, job development and youth mentoring. Senator Inouye emphasized, "these resources empower rural communities to work collaboratively to create new employment possibilities. This federal investment counts on a growing recognition of higher education‘s value in job creation through partnerships."

Based on the Lanaʻi program‘s success, the scope of the project was expanded to include the islands of Maui, Molokaʻi, Kauaʻi, and the Big Island. In 2002, the project was further expanded to include rural Oʻahu.

"This innovative, community-based approach leverages our rural community colleges to create partnerships with employers who provide new and more jobs at a living wage. We‘re very grateful to Senator Inouye for supporting these UH relationships with private and public sector partners to strengthen Hawaiʻi‘s rural economy," said UH President Evan Dobelle.

On August 11, Maui CC will host a "Celebration of Rural Development" with Senator Inouye as a guest speaker and featuring individuals who have participated in projects supported by the Rural Development Project and the Rural Job Training Initiative.