May 25, 2016

Hirono Announces New Veterans Training Programs At University Of Hawaii

WASHINGTON, D.C.- Senator Mazie K. Hirono today announced that the University of Hawaii was selected for two federal programs to assist veterans entering the civilian workforce. The University of Hawaii system is one of six new universities nationwide to receive support from the U.S. Small Business Administration to establish a Veterans Business Outreach Center (VBOC) program. In addition, the U.S. Department of Energy announced that Honolulu Community College will join the Department’s Solar Ready Vets Program, which will partner with Marine Corps Base Hawaii to provide solar workforce training.

“The University of Hawaii’s selection for these two workforce training programs is a reflection of its commitment to preparing veterans for 21st century careers,” said Senator Hirono. “Through the Veterans Business Outreach Center and Solar Ready Vets programs, veterans in Hawaii and across the Pacific will have increased access to training opportunities.”

Senator Hirono has been a strong advocate for increasing entrepreneurial opportunities and developing a pipeline for veterans to support Hawaii’s clean energy future. The U.S. Senate recently passed the Energy Policy Modernization Act, S. 2012, which included provisions Hirono authored to help service members and veterans transition to careers in the energy sector such as building or installing solar panels. Senator Hirono’s amendment allows veterans, along with Native Hawaiians, and tribal organizations such as the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands, to receive priority in participating in energy workforce programs developed by community colleges or other public or non-profit organizations.

As a VBOC, the University of Hawaii will provide a variety of services for veterans including counselling, training for business plan development, mentorship opportunities with other veteran owned businesses, and holding hold 24 “Boots to Business” sessions which are two-day sessions that teach veterans fundamental skills for starting a small business. The Solar Ready Vets Program will allow service members at Marine Corps Base Hawaii to pursue solar workforce training six months before separation from the military.