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Similar to the state's employment projections on occupation and industry growth, a study done in 2006 by the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems (NCHEMS) examined the priority needs of Hawai'i in which the community colleges are expected to respond. It stated that we needed to provide skilled workers in critical "need" areas, such as nursing/allied health, teachers and science technologies. And, most recently, there has been a surge in demand for workers with "green" skills and knowledge. In response, the community colleges expanded its programs and made it more accessible to more students in these workforce demand areas.

Nursing/Allied Health Workers
For example, in responding to fulfill a growing demand for nursing/allied health workers, Kapi'olani Community College expanded its nursing program to be offered at Leeward and Windward Community Colleges. Capacity building also took place on all neighbor islands.

With a critical need for more teachers, Leeward Community College developed a new Associate's degree in Teaching (AAT) designed to provide a career ladder to teaching and a solid foundation for transfer to a baccalaureate degree in education.

Science Technologies
A national initiative to increase the number of students pursuing degrees in the sciences resulted in the development of several Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) programs at the community colleges. The STEM programs offered at all of the community colleges are designed for easy transfer to baccalaureate degree STEM programs offered at the four-year universities. Enrollment of STEM students has been steadily rising over the years.

The community colleges also created programs that fed the pipeline to bioscience industries. Windward CC established two academic subject certificates in bio-resource development and management and plant biotechnology. Kapi'olani CC offers a medical lab technician program, and Hawai'i CC began offering an associate's degree in tropical ecosystem and agroforestry management.

Green Technologies
With a growing demand for employees skilled in "green" technologies, the community colleges have developed new educational and training programs that offer degrees and certificates in disciplines focusing on sustainability, energy efficient building construction and retrofitting, energy efficient assessment services and management, renewable energy in solar thermal and photovoltaic, biofuels processing, reforestation and other conservation fields. See "Sustainability Initiative" for more information.

Arts (music, design and performing)
With the support of the State and various partners, the University of Hawai'i Community Colleges established several quality programs producing graduates to support the music and media art industries in Hawai'i. For example, Honolulu CC created the Music Entertainment Learning Experienced (MELE) program to foster and promote music industry professions in Hawai'i. Kapi'olani, Leeward, Honolulu and Hawai'i Community Colleges created digital media arts programs to develop local talent to support of the state's cinematic and animation industries.

Degrees and Certificates Awarded