Kupu’s CommunityU program provides a robust pathway for under-resourced young adults ages 16-24 to gain the experiences, education, training, and support needed to pursue successful transitions into adulthood, as well as develop into productive members of society with a heart to serve and positively impact the community around them. In a nurturing environment, CommunityU provides training and support in the areas of team work and life skills, personal and cultural development, education, and job readiness. Participants find purpose and motivation to take their next steps forward in life when CommunityU enables them to drop into the lo’i mud, tear down invasive strawberry guava trees, restore fishponds, plant native species, or carve papa ku’i'ai (traditional Hawaiian poi boards)—all in a team-based cohort setting while surrounded by the camaraderie of peers and mentoring by Kupu staff. See our brochure for more information.
Internship (Phase 1): The CommunityU internship is designed for young adults who are seeking a hands-on service opportunity and real world job experience completing natural resource management projects at various conservation and Hawaiian cultural sites throughout Oahu. The internship lasts 8 weeks and requires a full-time, 40 hours per week commitment (7:30 am – 3:30 pm). Interns are in the field for four days each week. One day each week, interns engage in workshops regarding life skills, personal development, job readiness, and culture, hear guest speakers, and go on field trips or tours.
Community School Diploma Program (Phase 2): Through a partnership with McKinley Community School for Adults, CommunityU runs a high school diploma equivalency program that offers students an opportunity to obtain their C-Base (competency-based) diplomas. Our C-Base program offers an opportunity to attain a Community School Diploma to individuals who find that a GED is not a fit for their needs. In order to earn their diploma, C-Base students must pass five units of competency and a mastery exam, in addition to completing 100 hours of employment or volunteer service (fulfilled through the CommunityU phase 1 internship). The five units of competency include Community Resources, Consumer Economics, Government & Law, Health, and Occupational Knowledge. Each unit is covered over 4 to 5 weeks, and it takes a total of approximately 7 months to earn a diploma through the C-Base program. Classes are held on-site at Kupu’s green training facility in Kewalo Basin, Kaka’ako on Monday, Tuesday, and Friday mornings from 9 am – 12 noon. Class size is capped at 25 students.
Post-Program Opportunities (Phase 3): With support from Kupu (including financial assistance), graduates of CommunityU select from a variety of post-program opportunities to pursue, including: advancement in further Kupu programs and internships, enrollment in higher education (vocational/trade school, community college, university), and placement in paid, on-the-job training assignments.
CommunityU operates out of Kupu’s green training facility (commonly known as the “Net Shed”) located in Kewalo Basin, Oahu across from Ward Centers in Kaka’ako. Directions to the Net Shed may be found here.
Internship cohorts are run at least three times per year, typically in the spring, fall, and winter.
Spring 2014: March 10 – May 2
Fall 2014: October – December (specific dates to be determined)
Winter 2015: January – March (specific dates to be determined)
Enrollment for our C-Base diploma program is ongoing and held year-round.
Government & Law Unit: April 14 – May 12 (April 10 – Mandatory Orientation at 10 am)
Community Resources Unit: May 13 – June 12
Occupational Knowledge Unit: June 16 – July 14
Consumer Economics Unit: July 15 – August 12
- Between 16-24 years of age
- Must have reliable transportation to Kaka’ako, O’ahu
- Must be able to serve full-time for 8 weeks
- Must be able to physically and mentally complete rigorous outdoor activities
- Interested in natural resource conservation, renewable energy, or sustainable living
- Between 16-24 years of age and does not possess a high school diploma
- Youth ages 16 to 17 must have a completed Department of Education form 4140
- Must have a minimum 7th grade reading and math level
- Must have reliable transportation to Kaka’ako, O’ahu
- Participate in meaningful work rehabilitating Hawaii’s ecosystems and increasing the sustainability of the `aina
- Learn valuable vocational and life skills that will give you a leg up in a competitive job market
- Serve your community while having fun outdoors and making new friends!
- Obtain your diploma through GED or C-Base
- Gain eligibility for paid on-the-job training placements and/or financial assistance to cover costs of vocational training
How to Apply:
Please complete and submit a CommunityU Interest Form HERE.
Contact us at (808) 735-1221735-1221 ext 102 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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[Being an E2U intern] definitely paves a way for my future, especially the environmental energy field. It’s good to know what the residents of Hawaii think versus what we know and what needs to be done, so it’s cool to know what I need to study when I go back to school.
Maeghan – E2U member, 2011-2012,
..The friendships and connections one forms in the RISE program become part of one’s extended family...Most of us are fairly new to the green jobs field… and have helped each other through difficult decisions within and outside of RISE...I would like to say that the RISE program has connected me with some of the finest people this field has to offer. I truly feel a debt of gratitude to the program and leaders for all that they have given and taught me.
Tyson Kanzaki - RISE member, 2012,
Everything about this internship has enriched my life and I am so thankful to have gotten the experience. I can truly look back and say it was the best possible thing I could have done after graduating from college. This internship has truly been transformative thank you HYCC for allowing me to connect with the ‘aina like this.
Janelle Williams - HYCC Extended Internship Program, Big Island 2010 ,
The two summers I have spent within this program have been an integral part of my life and my overall decision in pursuing a career in conservation.
Without [CommunityU], I would still be out in the streets getting into trouble, hanging with the wrong crowds; but I'm not. I would recommend this program to anyone that needs something to get them started on the right path. [CommunityU] saved my life from being another statistic.
Kaulana, 2011 Member,
Kupu has a lot of things to offer...I got a career out of the program and I've been hired on at tthe Hawaii Volcanoes National Park….it is a great stepping stone for people who are looking for a foot in the door to conservation.
Kristine, 2010 member,
Truly Hawaii Youth Conservation Corps has changed my life in an una this great program and to gain so much knowledge.
To empower youth to serve their communities through character-building, service-learning, and environmental stewardship opportunities that encourage integrity (pono) with God (Ke Akua), self and others.