HONOLULU — Students from four Career and Technical State Organizations (CTSO) representing 45 Hawai‘i public, private and postsecondary schools competed at the 2024 State CTSO Conference from Jan. 29 to 31 at the Hawai‘i Convention Center.
The CTSO Conference serves as a forum for students from four of the five Hawai‘i CTSOs — the Distributive Education Clubs of America (DECA), Future Health Professionals (HOSA), Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA), and SkillsUSA — to apply their Career and Technical Education (CTE) learning in a competitive showcase.
“The CTSO conference is the culminating event for students to take all of this knowledge that they've been learning in class, and display that in front of authentic judges,” Daniel Addis, CTE educational specialist for the Hawai‘i State Department of Education, said.
Approximately 1,700 students from across the state participated in a range of authentic, real-world competitions in areas including business and marketing, retail merchandising, drone operations, robotics, health science, emergency preparedness, engineering technology and more. Competitions took place at the Hawai‘i Convention Center in the form of written exams, interviews, presentations, or team or individual challenges. Culinary, automotive technology and carpentry competitions took place off site at Kapi‘olani Community College, Leeward Community College and the Carpenters Training Center in Kapolei.
Community business partners were invited to judge competitions within their respective fields or industries to help ensure that the student CTE skills were in alignment with real-world industry standards.
“We really rely on our business partnerships to make sure that we're giving the kids the skills they need to be in that career in the future,” CTSO State Coordinator Margaret Miura said.
With leadership-building as one of the main focuses of CTSO, business partners also help to mentor and guide students looking to enter an industry.
The annual conference aligns with the Department’s efforts to strengthen career and college pathways by providing relevant, real-world learning opportunities that help ensure all graduates are globally competitive. Winners of the state competitions will go on to compete in national CTSO tournaments later in the school year.
The fifth Hawai‘i CTSO, Future Farmers of America, will be having their annual conference on Kaua‘i at the end of February.