Hawaii Community College’s Office of Continuing Education and Training (OCET) is offering a financial education and counselor training program for the first time beginning on April 20. OCET partnered with the county Research and Development Department to hold this training as part of a concerted effort to improve financial literacy in Hawaii.
The New York City Department of Consumer Affairs (NYC DCA) is leading the way in community asset building efforts nationwide. Based on their work, local innovations are being tailored for the needs of our Hawaiian Island communities. Hawaii based organizations such as the Hawaii Alliance for Community-Based Economic Development (HACBED) and the Ho‘owaiwai Network have been highly supportive and are working hard to implement new strategies toward that end.
Asset-building efforts don’t necessarily refer to financial accumulation, as many people believe. Viewing wealth as a collective environmental asset challenges traditional western notions and links the initiative’s wealth creation agenda to strategies that build upon, preserve or advance not only Hawaii’s financial capital but its human, natural, cultural and social capitals as well.
The financial counselor program was one of the innovations that was used in New York and has been tailored for Hawaii. The training was originally offered as a certificate program in New York state. The same material is now offered by the City University of New York (CUNY) for three credits as part of the coursework for their School of Professional Studies.
Graduates of the program offered by Hawaii Community College OCET will receive a Certificate of Professional Development in Financial Education and Counseling. Students will gain the knowledge necessary to properly conduct a financial counseling session with clients from any background; help them assess their current financial situation; increase their savings, understand their credit and banking situation, and work toward reducing their debt; as well as set financial goals for their future.
“The hope is that graduates of the program will take their new skills to work in a wide variety of settings and positions,” said OCET spokeswoman Marsha Okajima. “Anyone who is interested in, or is currently, working in a counseling setting, as a banking associate, or other social services provider, may benefit from enhanced knowledge of financial literacy.
“Graduates will be able to help members of our community prevent financial hardships such as bankruptcy and foreclosure, and coach them through troubles when they arise.”
The course will be taught by John K. Kai, president and founder of Pinnacle Investment Group LLC. Kai has worked extensively in the field of financial advisory services since 1991 and has done hundreds of investment-related workshops for individuals, organizations, and companies. He is an active community member and currently serves on the Board of Directors of ML Macadamia Orchard and as a director of the Hawaii Island YMCA.
Classes will be held on Saturdays from 9 a.m . to 5 p.m. from April 20-May 25, with the final exam on the morning of June 1. Tuition assistance may be available for this program. For more information about tuition and registration, please call Estee Nathanson, OCET coordinator, at 934-2693, or contact her via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.