Leeward Community College to graduate first process technology class

Unique hybrid workforce development program prepares students for high-tech jobs in petrochemical, refining and power generation industries

Leeward Community College
William Labby, (808) 455-0688
Workforce Development Program Coordinator
Kristen Bonilla, (808) 956-5039
External Affairs & University Relations
Posted: Dec 16, 2008

PEARL CITY, Oʻahu — Leeward Community College (Leeward CC) announces the first graduation of its newly established Process Technology Program. The ceremony, with 10 students receiving professional development certificates, will be held at 10 a.m. on Friday, Dec. 19, 2008, in the college‘s campus center.

The graduation is the culmination of 18 months of training; combining traditional college courses with the highly specialized process technology curriculum offered through Leeward CC‘s Office of Continuing Education and Workforce Development.

Process technology is a career for students seeking a high-tech job in fields such as chemical manufacturing, oil and gas production, petroleum refining, power generation, pharmaceuticals, food processing, pulp and paper manufacturing, and water treatment. Hawaiʻi‘s process technology industries are experiencing an increasingly difficult time finding qualified applicants, while the number of available jobs is expected to increase as the current aging workforce begins to retire.

To meet the growing demand for skilled workers in the petrochemical, refining and power generation industries, Leeward CC partnered with the Center for the Advancement of Process Technology (CAPT) and several local companies to develop and deliver a hybrid training program that prepares students to work as a process operator in the process industries.

This first graduation is a milestone with Process Technology representing the first hybrid credit/non-credit workforce development program at Leeward CC. This approach enables the college to respond rapidly to the training needs of the state while providing graduates with a foundation of traditional higher education courses that will not only help them gain employment, but remain competitive for advancement and promotion.

"Leeward Community College is committed to providing students an avenue to pursue career and technical degree programs that lead directly to a career," explains Mike Tagawa, Leeward CC Dean of Career & Technical Education. "We are proud to partner with CAPT and local industry to provide an innovative approach to education and workforce development that equips students with the important technical skills needed for jobs in the refining and power generation industries."

The program anticipates graduating 60-75 process technology students in the next two years, which is far below the anticipated job vacancies.


As one of the seven community colleges in the University of Hawaiʻi System, Leeward Community College provides access to higher education and plays an important role in workforce development in Leeward and Central Oʻahu. The college focuses on students, teaching, learning, and responsiveness to community needs. With courses in more than 100 subject areas, Leeward CC offers a comprehensive curriculum for immediate entry into the workforce or for transfer towards a baccalaureate degree. High demand programs include business, education, digital media, computer networking, culinary arts, television production, engineering, visual and performing arts and the sciences. The 2008—2009 academic year marks the college‘s 40th anniversary. In its 40 years of addressing the educational needs of Leeward and Central Oʻahu, the college has completed more than 3.5 million credit hours of instruction, entertained more than 2 million patrons at its theatre, and expanded its offerings from eight degree and certificate programs in 1968 to more than 50 in 2008. For more information, visit the campus website at www.leeward.hawaii.edu.

For more information, visit: http://www.leeward.hawaii.edu