Connect to Careers — C2C

Connect to Careers (C2C) is a statewide collaborative of education, workforce/industry, and data partners focused on work-based learning systems and opportunities in Hawaiʻi. C2C is engaged in defining priorities and objectives to align with the Hawai‘i DOE’s high-impact strategies of school design and student voice, as well as meaningful school-community collaboration.

​Career and Technical EducationA curricular and assessments program to ensure students fully develop their career and academic potential. It includes articulated career pathways with dozens of programs of study.

About C2C

C2C logoCareer readiness is an evolving target. New skill sets and aptitudes needed by employers who are keeping pace with changing markets and consumer demands require relevant and rigorous learning opportunities that can flexibly adapt.

​​C2C brings together education, workforce/industry, and data partners around work-based learning systems and opportunities in Hawaiʻi, with a goal to build capacity and support. Partners are defining priorities and objectives to align with the DOE’s high-impact strategies of school design and student voice, as well as meaningful school-community collaboration.

The coalition leverages Hawai‘i's successful P-20 infrastructure to grow and sustain high-growth industries, both statewide and regionally; strengthens the rigor and relevance of high-quality career pathways that begin in high school and extend through postsecondary; and improves the preparation and professional development of teachers and counselors to help students obtain credentials that employers value. The result of this work will be that more students will demonstrate:  

  • the rigorous academic preparation needed to succeed in college;
  • career understanding; and,
  • employability skills.

The C2C coalition includes employers, state educational systems (Hawaii DOE, University of Hawaii System), funders, and workforce and economic development agencies. Coalition building and planning was facilitated with a national planning grant competitively awarded to the Hawaii DOE in 2016. If your business has questions about how to participate, please contact program liaison Marlene Zeug, 808-305-0688, or via email.


  • In its policy action agenda, Hawaii Business Roundtable cites working with K-12 and higher education to strengthen career readiness as a top priority.
  • The Chamber of Commerce is hosting quarterly industry sector summits by island to gather information about industry needs that reflect regional realities. (See Sector Focus, below.)
  • C2C is aligned with the Hawaii DOE and Board of Education's 2017-2020 Strategic Plan. One of its five statewide strategic initiatives is to implement K-12 career readiness pathways.
  • Modeling successful career academies and related pathways from Hawaii DOE schools.

C2C has focused on the following primary areas:

  1. Galvanizing cross-sector leadership commitment to a shared aspiration, common definition, and shared measures
  2. Expanding teacher externships beyond CTE to include both middle and intermediate school teachers as well as academic core subjects
  3. Fostering innovative middle and intermediate out-of-school-time programming that aligns with their high schools through work-based learning experiences 

Cross-sector leadership commitment

The work is coalescing around:

  1. Student outcomes
  2. Coordinated continuum of curriculum aligned to student supports
  3. Supports for high-quality teaching and learning (e.g., teacher externships)
  4. An infrastructure for sustaining a range of partnerships

While connecting students to rich workplace learning opportunities continues to thrive at the school level, C2C has focused on building the framework, identifying needs and removing barriers to scaffold success of work-based learning at a systemic, statewide level.


Hawaii businesses on each island are convening regular sector summits to analyze and answer the market needs of communities. This is a dynamic effort that is flexibly updated as market realities and community priorities change, and involves industry partners working hand-in-hand with schools. Early sectors on Oahu:

  • Finance & Banking: Developing financial literacy, assisting schools with credit unions and banking programs to pivot from customer service (tellers) to universal banking (broader financial services). Initial schools include Kapa‘a (Kaua‘i) and Waipahu high schools.
  • Cybersecurity: A collaborative of the CIO Council, kicked off with the P-20 Cybersecurity Summit, to build knowledge of information systems and the protocols to secure them. Includes job opportunities with the National Security Agency. Initial schools include Leilehua and Waipahu high schools. (See this Honolulu Star-Advertiser profile of the program.)
  • Carpentry: A partnership with the Hawaii Carpenters Apprenticeship Program connects the resources of this organization (curriculum, training, space) with front-of-the-line opportunities for students who complete the program. Initial schools include Kahuku, Waianae and McKinley high schools.

    • RelatedThe HCR103 Legislative Task Force Report supports students who are pursuing a certificate or degree after high school in the post-secondary CTE Building and Construction (B&C) Program, with the potential to lead students to high-skills, high-wage, meaningful careers.
  • Food Manufacturing: This partnership is focusing on three action items:
    1. Cultivating the talent pool to increase local food manufacturers who meet Food and Safety Modernization and increasing students' interest in pursuing careers in this field;
    2. Strengthening the value chain by increasing sourcing of local agriculture crops by local manufacturers to use in their products and to large wholesalers and Hawaii retailers; and 
    3. Promoting the export of local products through existing and new distributors, working together to sell to distributors as a food manufacturing group and reduce shipping export costs.
  • Health Occupations
  • Computer Science
  • Construction/Engineering

Neighbor island workforce development organizations and local businesses are collaborating on their own sectors.

  • Maui: Healthcare.
  • Kauai: Food & Agriculture, Healthcare. Kauai has also launched a Keiki To Career initiative 
  • Hawaii Island: Food and Agriculture.

Teacher externships

Building upon a 2017 pilot program, the CTE Secondary Teacher Externship Program matches teachers to businesses in his/her respective teaching areas to maintain currency in their fields and adjust curricular materials so students learn the skills and competencies that businesses are seeking now. For grades 9-12 CTE educators.

The 2018 program was funded primarily by the Harold K.L. Castle Foundation and the Workforce Development Council, and aligns with federal and state career readiness goals in the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), and Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins).

  • 25 teachers statewide were matched with 17 businesses for a 40hr/1wk externship; teachers received a $1,500 stipend (funded by HKL Castle and Workforce Development Council
  • 13 teachers were from Oʻahu, 12 from Neighboring Islands (1 Lanaʻi, 1 Maui, 2 Kauaʻi, 8 Hawaiʻi)
  • 17 businesses represented the spectrum of small, medium and large organizations5 returning businesses (Hawaiʻi Pacific Health, Hilo Hawaiian Hotel, PBS Hawaiʻi, Outrigger Hotels and Resorts, McDonald's Restaurants of Hawaiʻi)
  • 12 new businesses (Waiea Aquaponics, KTA Super Stores, Keopu Kona Coffee, Mari's Garden, Construction Management Association, Maui Print Works, Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel, Courtyard by Marriott King Kamehameha's Kong Beach Hotel, Cliff's at Princeville Hawaiʻi, Lanai Health Center, Hilo Medical Center, and The Queen's Medical Center)
  • Pathways represented: Agriculture, Food Innovation, Natural Resources (5 teachers); Industrial & Engineering Technology (1 teacher); Arts, Creative Media, Communication (2 teachers); Culinary, Hospitality, Tourism (6 teachers); Health Sciences and Human Services (11 teachers)

The Hawaii DOE, State CTE and other interested partners have plans to convene to focus on the implementation plan for next year that focuses on the following: expanding to include non-CTE teachers (academic core teachers and middle and intermediate school level teachers are both possibilities), an alternative funding strategy for sustainability, and developing a learning community construct to cultivate both schools and business interest and awareness.

Middle-level out of school time (OST) programming

Four interested middle-high pairs (King Intermediate & Castle High, Kapolei Middle & Kapolei High, Pearl City Intermediate & Pearl City High, and Waipahu Intermediate & Waipahu High) convened with nearly 30 partners in the construction industry in May 2018 to brainstorm the possibility of program design connecting OST programming to work-based learning opportunities in high schools. to excite and engage students in learning? As an intervention strategy for equity and access to quality educational experiences, OST is one way to advance both partnerships and school objectives that translate to powerful student learning experiences beyond the traditional school day. Funding available for OST programming also represents a new avenue for resources.


  • Connecting Industry to Classroom: The Career & Technical Education Center is working with the Hawaii DOE on a pilot with Nepris, a cloud-based platform which virtually connects classrooms with industry professionals, in Hawaii and around the world, to bring real-world relevance into the classroom. The pilot includes 175 Nepris software licenses for Career and Technical Education teachers who teach at least 50 percent CTE classes, with unlimited use through June 30, 2018. Priority will be given to neighbor island teachers due to their challenges with limited access to industry professionals. 
    • Watch Waipahu High's Academy of Engineering panel discussion on STEM careers. (You will need to sign up for a free Nepris account to view.)
    • Academy students at Pearl City High heard from local professionals on careers in Human Resources Management. View Facebook post.
  • The Hawaii Pre-Health Career Corps at the University of Hawaii is a free year-round program for high school and college students who are interested in pursuing careers in health. It provides mentoring, shadowing and research experiences. Learn more.

Industry input in workplace learning

This four-minute video provides a simple overview of the changing dynamic in the collaboration of industry, education and workforce development, making our approach more effective for all partners.


Career & Technical Education (CTE)

The vision of Hawai‘i's CTE program is to make sure that all CTE students fully develop their career and academic potential. Four core principles:

  • Alignment: Effective alignment between CTE and labor market needs to equip students with 21st-century skills and prepare them for in-demand occupations in high-growth industry sectors.
  • Collaboration: Strong collaboration among secondary and postsecondary institutions, employers, and industry partners to improve the quality of CTE programs.
  • Accountability: Meaningful accountability for improving academic outcomes and building technical and employability skills in CTE programs, based upon common definitions and clear metrics for performance.
  • Innovation: Increased emphasis on innovation supported by systemic reform of state policies and practices to support CTE implementation of effective practices at the local level.
Learn more on the CTE program page.

​Financial literacy

Financial literacy is the capacity, based on knowledge, skills and access, to manage financial resources effectively. To develop this capacity, individuals must have appropriate access to and understanding of financial products, services, and concepts.

Contact Information

Marlene Zeug

Phone: 808-305-0688


Strategic Plan 2017-2020

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