In The Fields Partnership Program
The In The Fields Partnership Program was launched in 2014 in efforts to introduce local high school students to the agricultural industry and the diversity of careers available in it. By partnering with the Department of Education’s (DOE) Career Technical Education office and small farms throughout the state, the Hawaii Agricultural Foundation (HAF) works to foster and maintain a strong workforce needed to grow and sustain farming in Hawaii.
Throughout the academic year, participating classrooms visit three different types of farms - conventional, biotech and organic - and have the opportunity to garner real-life, hands-on experiences through workplace mentorships. Business owners are also able to interact with educators to ensure that what students are learning aligns with the skills needed by industry.
The In the Fields Partnership Program objectives are to:
- Create greater student awareness and interest in agriculture and improve the perception of Hawaii’s third largest industry and its impact on the island economy;
- Develop more effective partnerships between industry and academia to recruit more students and better prepare them with the skills they need for the job;
- Better align the needs of education and agriculture and create programs that help facilitate the transition for students from school to work.
HAF's In The Fields Partnership Program aims to bridge the gap between what it is really like at work in the industry and what is being taught in the classroom. The target populations to be served are high school public and private school students and post-high school (community college and college) students.
According to the DOE's Agricultural Career Technical Education Resource Teacher, Alison Inouye, there is a need to ensure that students understand what it’s really like to work in an agricultural related field. She shared that students cultivating a school garden is a very different experience from the day-to-day life of working on the farm and in the fields.