Press "Enter" to skip to content

Tag: Collaborations & Partnerships

Veterans to Farmers pilot training program graduates first cohort

Pilot Veterans to Farmers program is a community-based initiative that will evolve into a new UH Hilo certificate in agriculture designed solely for U.S. military veterans.

The first cohort of the Veterans to Farmers certificate program.
The first cohort of the Veterans to Farmers training program.
A graduate receives her certificate and congratulations.
A graduate of pilot training program receives congratulations.

Chancellor Don Straney recently attended graduation ceremonies for the first cohort of the Veterans to Farmers training program. The 14 graduates received their training certificates in Waimea on Jan 5 at an event attended by family, friends, and Hawai‘i island and state dignitaries including representatives, senators, Mayor Billy Kenoi, and Governor Neil Abercrombie.

The Hawaii Tribune-Herald reports (PDF):

Among Saturday’s attendees was University of Hawaii at Hilo Chancellor Don Straney, who described the program as an “anti-plantation.”

“A crucial question is, how do we recruit the next generation of agri-business people?” Straney said. “After the (sugar) plantations left, farming has almost become a dirty word. … We’re showing them that that’s not the kind of farming we’re doing today. They’re not working for someone else’s farm. They’re creating their own small business from the land. Something to thrive with, and to support their family.”

The Veterans to Farmers training program is a community-based pilot initiative that will evolve into a new UH Hilo certificate in agriculture designed solely for U.S. military veterans. The program will provide hands-on farming skills training curriculum, classroom-based business training, business start-up support, and health monitoring for veterans. Once the curriculum is formally approved by the Veterans Administration, the UH Hilo certificate program will be eligible for veterans to use their GI Bill education benefits. A start date of the UH Hilo certificate program has not yet been finalized with the VA.

Veterans to Farmers
Governor Neil Abercrombie and other dignitaries stand with a graduate of the training program.

Partners in facilitating the Veterans to Farmers program are Rivertop Energy Solutions (a project-planning firm assisting with development of the initiative), Hawai‘i Community College, the State Department of Agriculture, the Department of Labor, the Department of Hawaiian Homelands, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, Mealani Research Station, the Pu‘ukapu Agricultural Community Facility, Native Hawaiian leaders and organizations, several community-based groups, Wow Farm and other local farmers in Waimea on the Big Island. UH Hilo’s involvement in this first pilot training program was limited to technical advice.

A key goal of the UH Hilo certificate program will be to enable veterans to develop the necessary skills to farm while also addressing the difficulties many face in transitioning back to civilian life after military service. Completion of the program can enable veterans to create new farm businesses, and to meet the requirements to acquire the leases and loans needed to start a farm. Some participants who complete the certificate program will be ready to pursue a bachelor’s degree at UH Hilo in addition to becoming farmers.

One of the goals of this graduating cohort is to become teachers for subsequent cohorts. A group of community leaders and government officials met after the day’s festivities to talk about expanding the training program to Molokai.

Training in greenhouse building and grants to pay for greenhouse materials for every participants who needs financial assistance are part of the extensive program.
Graduates showed their skills in building greenhouses as part of graduation day activities. Training in greenhouse building and grants to pay for greenhouse materials for every student-farmer who needs financial assistance are part of the Veterans to Farmers program.


Message from UH President Greenwood

M.R.C. Greenwood

University of Hawaiʻi President M.R.C. Greenwood released a letter to the UH ʻohana today noting the many accomplishments of the university community over the past year.

An excerpt on Hilo:

We are also proud of the work going on at Hilo in addressing the future economic and educational needs of the Big Island community and beyond. UH Hilo is a partner with key community and government stakeholders supporting a new undergraduate certificate in agriculture, “Veterans to Farmer.” UH Hilo and Hawaiʻi Community College are developing island-wide and statewide pathways to facilitate seamless transfer into UH Hilo in agriculture, Hawaiian studies, marine science, nursing, and psychology. And the College of Pharmacy has begun a grant-funded program called Pharm2Pharm designed to reduce medication-related hospitalizations and emergency room visits by establishing teamwork between hospital and community pharmacists on the islands of Hawaiʻi, Maui and Kauaʻi.

Read the whole letter on the UH System News site.

Chancellor forms advisory council; first meeting held

Chancellor’s Leadership and Development Council will assist the chancellor on campus strategy and resource development.

Chancellor Straney gives his remarks at the first meeting of the Chancellor’s Leadership and Development Council held Thursday.
The Chancellor’s newly formed Leadership and Development Council is made up of community and business leaders.

University of Hawai‘i at Hilo Chancellor Donald Straney’s newly formed advisory council met for the first time yesterday.

“I am putting together a UH Hilo Chancellor’s Leadership and Development Council to assist me on campus strategy and resource development,” says the chancellor.

The council, made up of over 30 community and business leaders, will meet twice a year. They are charged to become informed advocates for the campus; support the educational and outreach mission of UH Hilo; enhance the lines of communication between the campus and various external constituencies; and provide advice and counsel. Participation in the council will be for a two-year period.

The first meeting of the council was held on Nov. 1 at ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center. The chancellor gave a presentation covering a general overview of the campus.  PBR Hawaii & Associates, Inc., and Design Partners, Inc. gave a presentation on UH Hilo’s Long Range Development Plan. The council also looked at the requirements needed for Hilo to become a true “university town.”

“The input that the council and other community leaders can provide will be critical to our future,” says Chancellor Straney.

Attendees included:

  • Jimmy Arakaki, Dodo Mortuary Life Plan
  • Dorothy Kuʻulei Badua, Queen Liliʻuokalani Children’s Center-Honokaʻa
  • Debbie Baker, Current Events-Kona
  • Roberta Chu, Bank of Hawaiʻi
  • Romel Dela Cruz, Retired Public Administrator
  • Chuck Erskine, First Hawaiian Bank
  • David Fuertes, Ka Hana Noʻeau Partners in Development Foundation
  • Mike Fujimoto, HPM
  • Clyde Hayashi, Hawaiʻi Laborers-Employers Cooperation & Education Trust
  • Amy Hennessey, Ulupono
  • Robert Iopa, WCIT Architecture
  • Noelani Kalipi, Ti Leaf Group, Inc.
  • Herring Kalua, State Department of Transportation
  • Maurice Kaya, Pacific International Center for High Technology Research
  • Darren Kimura, Sopogy (on phone conference)
  • Kelcy Koga, Waiākea High School
  • Barry Mark, Ameriprise Financial
  • Darlene Martin, Kamehameha Schools Keauhou-Kahaluʻu Education Group
  • Marvin Min, Gas CO-Hilo
  • Hugh Ono, SSFM International, Inc.
  • Kathy Romero, Keonepoko Elementary School
  • Gladys Sonomura, Retired Sonomura Contracting/Community Volunteer
  • Barry Taniguchi, KTA Super Stores
  • Guy Toyama, H2 Technologies
  • Julie Tulang, Retired Non-Profit/Public Administrator
  • Steve Ueda, Suisan
  • Lehua Veincent, Kamehameha Schools-Hawaiʻi Campus
  • Bill Walter, W.H. Shipman, Ltd.
  • Linda West, Clark Realty
  • Ike Yoshina, Retired Public Administrator

View Chancellor Straney’s presentation: Resource Development and Campus Strategy (PDF)

Photos courtesy of the Office of Development.

Pacific Islands Climate Science Center Inaugural Lecture

Chancellor Straney represented UH Hilo at a brief ceremony preceding the inaugural lecture for the Pacific Islands Climate Science Center held in Honolulu last Friday. Other participants were (l-r) John Peterson, assistant vice-president, University of Guam; Chancellor Straney; Kevin Hamilton, director, International Pacific Research Center, UH Mānoa; Loyal Mehrhoff, field supervisor, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; Deanna Spooner, coordinator, Pacific Islands Climate Change Cooperative; Cynthia Kolar, interim director, Pacific Islands Climate Science Center; and Vasillis Syrmos, associate vice-chancellor, UH Mānoa.

Chancellor Straney represented the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo at a brief ceremony preceding the inaugural lecture for the Pacific Islands Climate Science Center (PICSC) held at the UH Mānoa campus on Oct. 26.  PICSC is one of eight regional climate science centers recently initiated by the U.S. Department of Interior as joint projects hosted by university partners. The PICSC university consortium is led by UH Mānoa, UH Hilo and the University of Guam.

The focus of work supported by the new center is on the effects of climate change on the ecology of the Pacific islands and implications for land and wildlife managers. Total funding to UH researchers provided through the new center is expected to be about $2 million per year. Chancellor Straney is the principal investigator for the UH Hilo portion of the project.

The inaugural lecture by Loyal Mehrhoff, field supervisor at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and Deanna Spooner, coordinator of the Pacific Islands Climate Change Cooperative, was titled Navigating Change: Climate Science and Collaboration in the Pacific. It was the first in a series of lectures about stakeholder-driven science related to Pacific climate and ecology.