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  • Honolulu CC students pulliing compressor on a chiller

Honolulu Community College will invest in the career pathway for the next generation of building technology innovators. Through a $100,000 grant from the Johnson Controls Community College Partnership Program, Honolulu Community College will expand its associate degree and certificate programs in Refrigeration & Air Conditioning Technology. In addition to the initial investment, Honolulu Community College is eligible for up to three years of renewed funding, allowing the program to expand and serve future students.

“We are so grateful to Johnson Controls for this grant, which will enable us to recruit and retain underserved students, especially women, for in-demand careers in refrigeration and air conditioning and build on our already strong partnership,” said Karen C. Lee, Honolulu CC Interim Chancellor.

Introduced in 2021, the Johnson Controls Community College Partnership Program funds $15 million over the span of five years to non-profit community colleges throughout North America in support of their HVAC, fire, security and digital academic programs. Funding for each community college differs based on its needs; in general, colleges will use the funding to recruit, support, retain and graduate underserved students who otherwise may not have had the opportunity to pursue higher education. Honolulu Community College plans to offer students financial support, access to industry-approved tools, tutoring and internship support, as well as conduct outreach to high schools and involve industry professionals in advising and mentoring students.   

Local Johnson Controls employees in each market serve as volunteer educators and mentors, providing students with counselling and real-world experiences. The mentoring is directly incorporated into various college programs and provides a pathway for student internships and entry-level opportunities at Johnson Controls. 

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, nearly eight million skilled-labor jobs were lost from the labor force during the pandemic. About half have been filled, but an estimated four million vacancies remain in industries responsible for more transportation, construction and mechanical needs nationwide. Additionally, the U.S. Census Bureau estimates that nearly one-fourth of the manufacturing workforce is 55 or older; as they age and retire, there are not enough young people entering the trades to fill their positions. Filling these vacancies to support a healthy industry will take commitment and expertise across generations. 

“At Johnson Controls we strive to provide students with appropriate insights, mentorship and knowledge to empower them to move forward with a successful career in infrastructure. In doing so, we will change the trajectory of lives for these students” said Nate Manning, Vice President and President of Building Solutions in North America. “We will continue steering our efforts and initiatives towards preparing the next generation for a rewarding and sustainable career path that will have a lasting impact on the future of green buildings.

If you would like to learn how you can support UH students and programs like this, please contact us at 808 376-7800 or send us a message.

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At Johnson Controls (NYSE:JCI), we transform the environments where people live, work, learn and play. As the global leader in smart, healthy and sustainable buildings, our mission is to reimagine the performance of buildings to serve people, places and the planet. Building on a proud history of more than 135 years of innovation, we deliver the blueprint of the future for industries such as healthcare, schools, data centers, airports, stadiums, manufacturing and beyond through OpenBlue, our comprehensive digital offering. Today, with a global team of 100,000 experts in more than 150 countries, Johnson Controls offers the world`s largest portfolio of building technology and software as well as service solutions from some of the most trusted names in the industry. Visit for more information and follow @Johnson Controls on social platforms.

The University of Hawai‘i Foundation, a nonprofit organization, raises private funds to support the University of Hawai‘i System. The mission of the University of Hawai‘i Foundation is to unite donors’ passions with the University of Hawai‘i’s aspirations by raising philanthropic support and managing private investments to benefit UH, the people of Hawai‘i and our future generations.