JOBS FOR THE FUTURE
To meet the needs of our workforce we must ensure that our future workers have the necessary job skills. As the Senate Education Chair I have worked hard to push for programs that connect students with both post-secondary opportunities while they are still in High School (Early College), and vocational skill building opportunities (internships, work partnerships, etc.) so that they graduate prepared to pursue a career pathway.
I have also worked with our local businesses in the Central and West Oahu regions to ensure that we are connecting what their workforce needs are with the education system. One example of this is my work to increase Chinese language programs in our schools. With the anticipated opening of the Atlantis hotel in Ko Olina we know that they are targeting Chinese tourists. I pushed for years to get the DOE to offer more Chinese language programs to our students so that they have the basic language skills that will be in high demand. Through a partnership with Searider Productions, University of Hawaii West Oahu, Leeward Community College, and other community partners, we have created programs for students to gain basic Chinese language skills. This work group has continued to meet quarterly and evolved into a broad workgroup that offers internships and other skill-based learning in the hotels and hospitality industry. It is important to me that we give our students the best opportunity to work in jobs that allow them to avoid the long commute towards town.