The next phase in building career readiness and success for our keiki is looming.
Asst. Supt. Suzanne Mulcahy, Principal Keith Hayashi and I, joined by Leslie Wilkins (Hawai‘i Workforce Development Council), Scott Murakami (University of Hawai‘i), and project manager Erin Conner — just returned from Washington D.C. where we presented our proposal to the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) to move Hawai‘i’s career readiness initiative forward. (Pictured, Superintendent Matayoshi and Asst. Supt. Mulcahy in D.C. for the presentation.)
In March 2016, HIDOE secured a $100,000 New Skills for Youth (NSFY) grant to develop a detailed career readiness action plan. Hawai‘i is one of 24 states to secure the grant. We presented a strong case on why Hawai‘i deserves additional funding.
The state’s NSFY cross-sector leadership and work teams have crafted a comprehensive three-year plan to transform Hawai‘i’s career pathways, driven by business-identified high-skill and high-demand jobs, and focused on ensuring students achieve their postsecondary and career goals.
We are scaling successful models at our high schools and aligning with related initiatives at our partner organizations and institutions to eliminate duplication and reinforce each other’s work. Our proposal showcases the collaboration with our many partners from the business community, economic development, and higher ed.
The collective work is best described by the ‘olelo no‘eau: Ho‘okahi ka ‘ilau like ‘ana. We achieve excellence by working together to help shape our future.
In 2015, compared with the state’s overall unemployment rate of 3.7 percent, Hawai‘i’s youth unemployment rate was:
- 13 percent for ages 16-19, and
- 7 percent for ages 20-24.
We want to ensure that students build skills for in-demand jobs, where they can enter the workforce and see a path forward. The desire is there. Many of our students are taking college-level courses and earning dual credits (for both high school and college) before they graduate.
We have a baseline and an action plan. Together with our partners, we are committed to providing students equitable access to career pathway opportunities. Regardless of the outcome of our grant application, we will move forward. We are hopeful that a successful grant will accelerate our progress!