Ag internship grant application gets green light

LIHUE — Kauai students may soon have an opportunity to explore a field in agriculture.

“The goal is to get our high school students involved in agriculture again,” said George Costa, director of the Office of Economic Development. “We want the students to experience various agriculture companies —whether it’s farming, ranching, or value-added.”

The goal is to get the program in the school curriculum so they can get credit.

The Department of Labor and Industrial Relations and the Department of Education reached out to Costa two years ago to create an agriculture summer internship program.

What started out as two students from Kauai High School grew to 37 from Kapaa, Kauai and Waimea high schools.

On Wednesday, the Kauai County Council unanimously approved a request from the OED to apply for a $30,000 grant from DLIR to continue the third year of the internship program.

During the one-week program, students get hands-on experience with a farmer.

“There’s nothing like first-hand experience for agriculture,” said Councilman Arryl Kaneshiro. “You experience it, and appreciate the hard work. Even if they don’t go into that career, there’s a lot of value for kids to experience the hard work and value that goes into getting food on the table or raising an animal.”

Ag is hard work, said Councilman Ross Kagawa.

“We got to keep at it. We have to try to increase the amount that we produce here,” he said. “The DOE needs help to boost their ag programs.”

Some people’s destiny isn’t in the office, Kagawa added.

“Not everybody is meant to be a teacher or an accountant,” he said. “Some people are more hands-on. They want to get dirty. They want to work. If we don’t provide opportunities for them to learn and see what it’s like, we’re doing them a disservice.”


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