Partners in career readiness

Hawai‘i's collaborative network of education, workforce/industry, and data partners are focused on work-based learning systems and opportunities across the Islands. For HIDOE, that work coalesces around using school design to empower communities to contribute to a thriving, sustainable Hawai‘i.

2020-21 ClimbHI Year in Review Report

Report on the ClimbHI Bridge Initiative made possible by the Hawaii Executive Collaborative and other partners.


Career 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.

Hawai‘i's education, workforce/industry, and data partners collaborate around work-based learning systems and opportunities across the Islands with a goal to build capacity and support. For HIDOE, that work coalesces around using school design to empower communities to contribute to a thriving, sustainable Hawai‘i, based on the state's work around the Hawai‘i Green Growth Initiative and the Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy.

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 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 Hawai‘i DOE in 2016. If your business has questions about how to participate, please contact the Community Engagement Branch at (808) 305-0689.

  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 

Career Explorer

The University of Hawaii's community college system has developed a dynamic career explorer tool that looks not only at occupational data within individual sectors, but at data across all sectors, to create a holistic snapshot of industry demands and the current spread of occupations. Students from grades 6 and on can explore the career pathways section to connect with public school coursework that aligns to certificates and degrees across a range of occupational fields.

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. 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.

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.


A partnership between the HIDOE and Hawai‘i workforce development nonprofit ClimbHI, where students at public high schools across the state are connected with career opportunities through a state-of-the-art online portal. Read more here.

​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

Community Engagement Branch

Phone: 808-305-0691


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