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New website helps steer Hawaii students and adults to careers

An online portal — Hawaii Career Pathways — that launched this week will help students as well as adults gear up for jobs that are going to be in demand and can spur economic recovery in the state.

The one-stop shop aims to give people the tools they need to succeed, whether they are just starting on their careers or need to shift to jobs that can sustain them despite the coronavirus pandemic.

Hawaii Career Pathways brings many of the work-based learning and career pathways efforts in our state under one roof to make it easier for students, parents, teachers and businesses to plan for their future,” said Alex Harris, vice president of programs at the Harold K.L. Castle Foundation.

Via the website, people can consider career options as well as the education they need to get there, including on-the-job training, accelerated programs and financial aid. The platform has sections for students, adult learners, parents and educators as well as businesses.

“This user-centric approach will help more people access tools to explore and plan an education-to-career pathway that is right for them,” Harris said. “Having a plan will give people confidence that they can have fulfilling careers with family- sustaining wages here in the islands.”

Sponsors include the Chamber of Commerce Hawaii, state Department of Education, Hawaii P-20, Harold K.L. Castle Foundation, Kamehameha Schools, University of Hawaii, Career and Technical Education Center, Workforce Development Council and Office of the Governor.

“Connecting education to the real world is vital to developing a workforce in Hawaii that fits the needs of our local business community,” said Keala Peters, the Chamber of Commerce Hawaii’s vice president of education and workforce development. “This site will help employers be actively involved in developing a pool of qualified local applicants for in-demand, high-wage and high-skilled jobs in Hawaii.”

The website offers numerous resources for career exploration, starting with academies in high school, as well as internships, apprenticeships, certification options, and links to training and job search boards. For example, Oahu residents who were furloughed, laid off or lost hours due to the pandemic can sign up for free job training courses, ranging from a few hours to a few weeks, by visiting oahu backtowork.com.

The Hawaii Career Pathways website, hosted by Hawaii P-20, is is part of the Hawaii Executive Collaborative’s “Talent Roadmap.” That plan aims to help the economy recover by strategically focusing on sustainable jobs in growth fields and preparing Hawaii’s people to fill them. It focuses on three broad fields of employment:

>> Health care

>> Technology, including information technology, biotech and clean energy

>> Skilled trades in agriculture, manufacturing and construction

The effort to expand work-based learning got a big boost this month when the University of Hawaii and its partners landed a $13 million federal grant for “Hana Pathways,” a proposal for apprenticeships. UH partnered with the Hawaii Workforce Development Council and Chaminade University in that effort.

Hawaii was one of just eight states to win the Reimagining Workforce Partnership grant from the U.S. Department of Education in a competition open all 50 states. “Hana” means “work” in Hawaiian.

“This project will increase pathways for Hawaii’s people to living-wage jobs that are currently in demand in three resilient sectors: health care, technology and skilled trades,” UH President David Lassner said.

How to get started

>> New website: hawaiicareerpathways.org

>> ”Talent Roadmap”: hec.org/talent-roadmap

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