Hawai‘i State Department of Education Superintendent Keith Hayashi was honored with the state’s inaugural “Workforce Development Hero” Lifetime Achievement Award for his decades-long support and advocacy around strengthening Hawaiʻi’s education pipeline to support workforce needs.
In his 34 years of service, Superintendent Hayashi has prioritized workforce development and workforce innovation. As principal of Waipahu High School, he led the state’s second-largest high school to become an institution of nationally recognized career academies during his 12-year tenure. Now, as head of the largest workforce development organization in the state, he is committed to ensuring all students graduate from Hawai‘i public schools globally competitive and locally committed.
The state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations, through the Workforce Development Council, sponsored the awards program, which drew nominations from across the state. The award recognizes an individual with a career-long commitment to advocating for local career pathways and preparing individuals for viable employment and career advancement in Hawaiʻi.
“The state is focused on building a strong economy and it can only happen with a robust and resilient workforce. We are pleased to honor the tireless efforts of these individuals who have shown dedication in developing the pathways to lift our workforce so our communities can thrive and prosper,” Gov. Josh Green said in a statement.
Superintendent Hayashi was recognized with the top award during the Future of Work 2024 conference on Monday at the Sheraton Waikiki, where five other “heros” were honored.
“In addition to advocating for and supporting the pipeline to the education workforce, Superintendent Keith Hayashi has dedicated 34 years to empowering students to elevate and fulfill their aspirations, ensuring they have the resources and opportunities to develop the academic, employability, and job-specific skills they need to succeed in the future workforce,” his award nomination reads.
“As superintendent, [he] prioritizes workforce development across all public K-12 schools … This is evident in the number of schools building career pathways and programs of study and the number of organizations willing to provide students with work-based learning experiences,” it continues. “[He] has charged [HIDOE] leadership and staff with preparing our students for the current and future workforce, enabling our students to build a viable career anywhere in the world but encouraging them to choose to work, live, and grow here in Hawaii. The brighter our students’ future is here at home, the more the state of Hawai‘i will thrive.”