Hawaii educators work to advance career pathways for students


Hawaii is among a group of 17 states announcing a commitment to develop and execute a detailed plan to make career readiness a higher priority.

Farrington Academy

70 Farrington High School students were inducted into the Health Academy in a ceremony earlier this month

​​​HONOLULU –The Hawaii State Department of Education (HIDOE) today announced its commitment to reset career education by adding rigor and value to programs preparing high school graduates for high-skilled, high-demand jobs.

Using economic development data and partnerships with community employers, HIDOE will design more rigorous career readiness pathways that span secondary and postsecondary levels, culminating in credentials for students.

The Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) is facilitating this work, which pursues recommendations made in Opportunities and Options, a report of CCSSO’s Career Readiness Task Force. 

The report encourages states to make high school programs more responsive to the labor market by enlisting the employer community as a lead partner; significantly raise the threshold for quality career pathways in secondary schools; and make career preparation matter to schools and students, in part by expanding accountability systems to emphasize career readiness.

“This opportunity to dig deeper in advancing career pathways will complement the great work that is being done in our high school academies across the state,”said Schools Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi. “We want to provide the supports that will allow students to reach their full potential and expand on the successful programs that have carried them into the workforce after high school.”

“The task force recommendations were an important start, but states now must make them a reality,”said Chris Minnich, executive director of CCSSO. “In this global economy, we must prepare all kids to have an option in a career pathway as well as continued academic pursuits by the time they graduate from high school.”

For all states, CCSSO will develop an online resource center to provide strategies, case studies, self-assessment tools, communications materials and models of best practice. 

Hawaii is among a group of 17 states that today announced a commitment to develop and execute a detailed plan to implement the task force recommendations. That includes making career readiness a higher priority in state accountability systems by incorporating a more robust set of career-focused indicators that measure and value successful completion of meaningful pathways, work-based learning experiences, and credentials. 

The other states are California, Colorado, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, New Jersey, New Mexico, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Wisconsin and Wyoming. 

CCSSO launched its Career Readiness Task Force in the Spring of 2014 to increase the rigor in career education to meet expectations of the current labor market.

HIDOE also recognizes its public high schools that are already making progress in raising the bar toward workforce development learning:

  • ​Earlier this month, Waipahu High School received the National Career Academy Coalition accreditation for two of its academies — Health and Sciences, and Natural Resources. Waipahu’s two academies join 72 other national academies across the United States. The Academy of Health and Sciences is the 12th in the area of health, while the Academy of Natural Resources is the first of its kind in the United States. Representatives from both of Waipahu High School’s national model academies will be recognized in Louisville, Kentucky at the 19th NCAC Annual Conference in November.  For more information on NCAC academies, please visit https://www.ncacinc.com.
  • On Sept. 24, 70 Farrington High School students were inducted into its Health Academy. Farrington’s Health Academy was one of only 12 schools in the nation to earn the U.S. Dept. of Education’s Secretary Award for Outstanding Vocational Technical Education. For more information, please visit: http://farringtonhighschool.libguides.com/health

“The national recognition of these programs are not only well-earned but fine examples of student achievement and career-readiness,” said Suzanne Mulcahy, Assistant Superintendent, Office of Curriculum, Instruction, and Student Support. “We look forward to refining our education strategies based on CCSSO’s best practices combined with the work that is being done in our Smaller Learning Communities.”

A Smaller Learning Community (SLC) is a school organizational structure that is common in high schools. It is used to subdivide large school populations into smaller, autonomous groups of students and teachers to better meet the learning needs of students and allow for industry engagement. 

More than a dozen HIDOE high school principals meet throughout the school year to discuss SLC strategies and problem-based learning.​

About the Hawaii State Department of Education
The Hawaii State Department of Education is the ninth-largest U.S. school district and the only statewide educational system in the country. It is comprised of 256 schools and 34 charter schools, and serves more than 180,000 students.  King Kamehameha III established Hawaii’s public school system in 1840. 

Contact Information

Donalyn Dela Cruz

Phone: 808-586-3232

Email: Donalyn_Dela_Cruz@hawaiidoe.org


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