Hanalei’s newest education station

HANALEI — Kauai Community College’s newest satellite location stands among the taro fields below the green, waterfall-covered mountains of Hanalei.

Hale Halawai ‘Ohana O Hanalei, a longtime community and culture center, now also serves as a continuing education and training space where adults can learn things such as basic computer skills, how to deal with difficult people and how to draw.

“It’s the best kept secret on the North Shore,” said Kati Conant, who teaches a basic drawing class and is Hale Halawai’s executive director.

Conant said KCC’s new Hale Halawai partnership allows North Shore residents the opportunity to learn, explore and boost their career skills without having to make the hour-long drive to the main college campus in Lihue.

During a debut course offered last month at the new Hanalei location, the classroom was full of North Shore residents, including taro farmers, fresh off the field, wearing rubber boots.

There are two opportunities for tuition assistance. Native Hawaiians who meet specific income requirements are eligible for funding through the Ho’owaiwai Project. Some offered classes are also approved for Employment and Training Funds, which gives students a 50 percent tuition break so long as the other half of the tuition cost is paid for by the student’s employer.

Conant said the program is also seeking private donations to help more people afford tuition. The cost of enrollment is the biggest barrier to increasing class sizes, she said.

“A lot of the people who really need the classes cannot afford them,” Conant said. “The goal is to try to help the local community strengthen their work skills and help them find placement.”

Upcoming classes include a 4-hour Security Guard Re-certification for $69 from 2 to 6 p.m. on Wednesday; Microsoft Word, Level 1, for $175 from 8:30 a.m. to noon on Tuesdays and Thursdays from Aug. 25 to Sept. 3; Dealing With Difficult People for $45 from 3 to 6 p.m. on Sept. 9 or Sept. 23; Microsoft Excel 2010, Level 1, for $175 from 8:30 a.m. to noon on Tuesdays and Thursdays from Oct. 6 to 15; Basic Drawing for $185 from 3 to 5 p.m. on Wednesdays from Oct. 7 to Nov. 18.

For more information on Kauai Community College’s continuing education and training program in Hanalei, or to register for a class, call 245-8318. To make a donation for tuition assistance, call 826-1011 or mail a check to P.O. Box 822, Hanalei, HI 96714.

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Brittany Lyte, environmental reporter, can be reached at 245-0441 or by email at blyte@thegardenisland.com.

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