Hawai‘i Community College and the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo are working together closely as the campuses prepare to transfer the North Hawai‘i Education and Research Center (NHERC) in Honoka‘a to Hawai‘i Community College.
Hawai‘i CC will assume the management of NHERC effective July 1, 2019.
The creation of NHERC in 2006 was a collaboration of community, elected officials, and UH Hilo
to build a new model for meeting the educational and cultural needs of North Hawaiʻi. Through
NHERC, UH Hilo has actively pursued that mission for the past 12 years with the Heritage
Center showcasing the unique history of the area and community, delivering on-site classes and
Early College classes at local high schools, and providing a gathering place for the community
to pursue activities, exchange information, and celebrate events. Hawai‘i CC has participated in this effort to serve North Hawai‘i as we have offered non-credit classes, apprenticeship classes, and Early College at local schools. We plan to continue traditions established by UH Hilo, and we are excited to expand on them.
This transition brings exciting opportunities.
Hawai‘i CC’s expertise in delivering programs in both career and technical education and in the pre-professional areas will create more academic options for North Hawai‘i residents. The transition also will increase accessibility to higher education for local residents because of Hawai‘i CC’s open door admissions policy and lower tuition rates.
In addition, a major renovation is about to begin at NHERC that will add 5,000 feet of space to include a classroom, allied health lab, science lab, a culinary kitchen and related storage.
The renovation is expected to be completed in summer 2020 and creates opportunities for different types of credit and non-credit offerings and will make NHERC an even more valuable community resource.
THE TRANSITION PROCESS
As we pursue new opportunities, Hawai‘i CC is committed to developing academic programming that is relevant for the North Hawai‘i community. We will engage with NHERC staff, the community, local high schools, advisory councils and employers to gain an understanding of the educational needs and workforce development opportunities for the community. We hope to undertake this during the next year.
The vision is to offer degree and certificate programs through a combination of face-to-face instruction, videoconferencing, online learning and in-person lab classes. These modes of instruction are already being used at Hawai‘i CC, so it will be a matter of identifying the appropriate programs and working with faculty and administration on how to deliver them in North Hawai‘i.
One unique opportunity underway with support from the County of Hawai‘i is a butchering/meat cutting certification as the renovation includes the addition of a temperature controlled culinary lab that is necessary for such a program.
Given the geography of Hawai‘i Island, Hawai‘i CC is committed to building a distributed model of higher education that relies on multiple locations to best serve our communities. Currently, Hawai‘i CC operates the Manono campus in Hilo, the Pālamanui campus in Kona and delivers Early College classes at numerous high schools across the island.
We are excited to expand service in North Hawai‘i and to build on our mission to “serve all segments of the Hawai‘i Island community.”
Chancellor Rachel Solemsaas
Photo Caption: An aerial image shows the west wing section of of NHERC where a renovation will add 5,000 square feet of new space, including a science lab, culinary kitchen, health lab, classroom and related storage.