Maui Community College wins national Bellwether Workforce Development Award

National award honors innovative programs and practices that are successfully leading community colleges into the future

Maui College
Katie McMillan, (808) 984-3549
Marketing and Community Relations
Kristen Bonilla, (808) 956-5039
External Affairs & University Relations
Posted: Feb 7, 2008

KAHULUI, Maui, Hawaiʻi — Maui Community College has been selected as the 2008 winner of the prestigious Bellwether Award in the category of Workforce Development. This award, sponsored by the Community College Futures Assembly of the Institute of Higher Education at the University of Florida, recognizes the nation‘s best and most innovative educational programs and practices in community colleges throughout the United States.

Maui CC was recognized for its groundbreaking practices in sustainability and in meeting present and future workforce and institutional development needs.

Maui CC‘s presentation at the Futures Assembly in Orlando, Florida, was entitled "Sink or SLIM: A Model to Promote Sustainable Change Through Education, Partnerships, and Workforce Development," and highlighted the college‘s numerous initiatives and partnerships that promote sustainability on the campus and in the community while preparing students for living wage careers.

The 10 finalists in the category were selected based upon how well their programs addressed the conference theme, identified critical issues, and published criteria. The conference theme, "Change or Die," addressed current issues faced by community colleges, including enrollment growth, budget shortfalls, and calls for increased accountability. The conference theme was based upon a book of the same name by the conference‘s keynote speaker, Alan Deutschman.

Maui CC Chancellor Clyde Sakamoto, Sustainable Living Institute of Maui Director Alex DeRoode, and Maui Culinary Academy Director Chris Speere participated in the Maui CC presentation highlighting numerous campus efforts. These included creating the Sustainable Living Institute of Maui (SLIM), which promotes sustainability initiatives on campus and in the community; providing funds for student internships; securing a 250 kw windmill so students will have access to the latest in energy technology; implementing campus-wide recycling programs; hosting a community Water Resources Forum and an international Islands of the World Conference; and creating strong public and private partnerships that support the college‘s educational efforts.

The presentation highlighted the accomplishments of Maui CC‘s Rural Development Project, which has trained over 21,000 residents in rural Hawai‘i since 1997 and of the college‘s 331 grants, which have generated over $83.7 million since 1990 to benefit workforces in Maui County and rural Hawai‘i. The presentation also illustrated how the college is working to overcome the challenges faced by the community, including the high cost of energy, housing, and fuel; workforce shortages; and providing living wage careers in a service-based economy.

At the presentation ceremony, Bellwether Award Coordinator Anna Lebesch said, "Maui Community College provided a national model for sustainability which should be replicated in colleges and communities throughout the country. I was inspired by the presentation and impressed with how a rural community college could make such a significant impact on students, the community and the environment. I applaud their exemplary efforts."

Maui CC‘s presentation will be published in the Community College Journal of Research and Practice and will serve as a model for other community colleges across the nation. For more information about the Assembly and the 2008 Bellwether Awards, visit

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