The mission of Loveland Academy's Vocational Training Center is to provide quality learning opportunities for adults who will be entering the job force in the near future and for those wanting to change careers. Our goal is to provide participants with the knowledge, skills, and support needed to improve their employment opportunities in the areas of: aquaponic and hydroponic farming; child care; commercial art; floral design; gardening and landscaping; housekeeping; maintenance and handyman services; office work; pet caretaking; plant nursery work; restaurant work; retail sales and skills trainer/personal assistant.
My name is Dr. Patricia J. Dukes, founder and owner of Loveland Academy, and like you, I am concerned with providing excellent vocational education opportunities for adults who will be transitioning from high school to the workplace or to higher education, as well as for those older adults, already in the workplace, in need of developing new skills. I would like to introduce you to our CARF Accredited Employment Services Training Center, specifically designed to assist those students who require additional training post high school in order to be successful in either the workplace or in college.
Currently, Loveland Academy's new Employment Services Training Center offers mini-certificates in the following areas of employee development: garden botany, plant propagation, hydroponic gardening, aquaculture and aquaponics gardening, soil amendments and composting, sustainable farming, food processing and handling, customer service and both retail and on-line sales. We are currently working on certification programs for our other career paths.
The first certificate program to be offered through Loveland Academy's Employment Services Training Center was its Certificate in Agriculture, which was initiated in 2009. It began when Dr. Dukes purchased a nursery, made popular by its original owner, Senator Ralph Ijifu. Senator Ijifu was the president of the Windward Orchid Society for many years and had world famous orchids in his nursery, which he called Orchids of Waiahole. When Dr. Dukes purchased the nursery for a vocational training center, she renamed it Waiahole Nursery & Garden Center. Loveland Academy students came from their school, then on Piikoi St. in Makiki, to engage in vocational training activities two mornings a week. Initially, the job for the students was to "gut" the nursery, which had fallen into disrepair and build up the nursery from scratch. Along the way, commercial aquaponic farming was started, along with fish breeding. The once orchid nursery was transformed into a plant nursery with a wide variety of indigenous Hawaiian plants, canoe plants, edible garden plants and fruit trees. Landscape plants were also brought in by buying out several nurseries. The new nursery even bought out all the plants used to fim the TV series Lost.
Today, nearly all aspects of farming (both traditional dirt farming and both aquaponic and hydroponic farming) have been successfully taught to approximately 50 young adults. The original program has been expanded over the last 7 years to be tailored specifically for those adults who may have an interest in pursuing a career in almost any aspect of farming and agriculture (e.g. horticulture, botany, plant and fish genetics, fisheries management, nursery retailer or wholesaler, agricultural engineer, commercial aquaponics or hydroponics farmer, landscaper, landscape designer, lawn maintenance worker, soil farmer, etc.).Given feedback from our students, we have created mini-certificates in the following areas of employee development: garden botany, plant propagation, hydroponic gardening, aquaculture and aquaponics gardening, soil amendments and composting, sustainable farming, food processing and handling, and customer service and sales. Taken together, the student earns the Certificate in Agriculture.
Soon, it was realized that our student farmers needed other skills. They needed to learn how to market, merchandise, advertise and sell their products. They needed to learn how to take inventory, order supplies from vendors, label and stock their merchandise, take phone orders, and deliver good customer service. In doing so, they also needed to learn to use a POS system and a credit card machine, to learn about Good Agricultural Practice standards and keep logs to document their compliance. They also needed to learn to maintain their fish tanks and grow beds and to keep their workplace clean and neat. They needed to learn to use organic herbicides and pesticides to keep their plants healthy. They required knowledge related to the nutrional facts about their food products and how to wash, store and cook them in order to be healthy. These needs gave rise to a number of other training programs. Today, Loveland Academy is able to help a student learn, not only the agricultural aspects of farming, but all the other aspects needed to run a farm business and to live sustainably. Of course, not all students have either the interest or the ability to master all skills, but the programs are there should they "grow" into them.
About the Programs
To earn a Certificate, students take a yearlong curriculum, which is broken up into two semesters of work. These semesters can be taken in any order, but together lead to a certificate. The program has been approved by CARF under the category of Employment Services Training. The program was originally designed for high functioning vocational education students, but it has been modified and piloted for use by college graduate interns over the past two years. After verifying its success, we are now enrolling students. Mini-certificates are also available and are based on number of hours per unit.
Two types of students benefit from this training. The first group would be current high school students who would either be work-bound or college-bound following high school graduation. They would have specifically designed programs which would allow them to participate after school, on weekends and during intersessions. They would sign up for coursework by the semester, which is broken up into modules. Time of entry into the program is flexible.
The second program has been designed for post secondary students who are not headed immediately to college or who do not plan to attend college but need further training and/or need to build an experience-based resume to be eligible for jobs. Of significance is the fact that completing an Employment Services Training Program could help students go on to further training. For example, the agriculture certificate helps future farmers to become eligible for the state’s Go Farm program (www.gofarmhawaii/programs.html).
The year long (two semesters equivalent) course is divided into ten modules, designed to take the student through the daily tasks required of a person working in their area of interest. For example, in the Agricultural program, the student would learn to work in a fully functioning plant nursery, aquaponic farm, retail nursery/garden center or fish hatchery. The modules have associated hands-on practice that continues through both semesters to assure mastery of skills, not just concepts. Skills to be mastered in each program are listed on each Vocational Training Program page on this website.
More general (applicable to any area of employment) skills are targeted throughout all coursework and hands-on labs and include time management, effective teamwork, dressing for work, accepting supervision, punctuality, record keeping, and ethics in the workplace.
Various methods of instruction and learning tools are utilized in the employment skills training course, including audio, visual, and hands-on learning.
We have made the cost of this program, for post secondary students, the same as if the student was attending a full time semester of community college or $1890.00 per semester for school year 2016 to 2017. High school students may access the program at half the cost or $945 per semester. They would do the program after school hours, on weekends and during breaks from school. For persons with disabilities, the costs are based on the addional services needed to benefit from the program (i.e. mental health services, speech pathology, occupational therapy, case management, 1:1 skills training, etc.). Required services and costs would be figured out following assessment.