A new analysis has identified 137 credentials and degrees students can earn for jobs that are in demand and pay a living wage in Hawaii in fields such as health care, technology, renewable energy and the skilled trades.
The “Promising Credentials in Hawaii” report released this week first surveyed employers then held focus groups to find out which credentialing programs — from a forklift operator to a certified medical assistant to a certified scrum master — are most needed by businesses in the state, said Keala Peters, vice president of education and workforce development at the Chamber of Commerce Hawaii, which produced the report in collaboration with Kamehameha Schools, the Harold K.L. Castle Foundation and the Hawaii P-20 Partnerships for Education.
The report will allow high schools and community colleges in Hawaii to adjust curriculums to provide training for jobs that are in demand now and in the future.
“We finally have some insights from employers to help shape that educational offering,” she told Pacific Business News.
Peters said the work to produce the report kicked off on March 10, less than two weeks before the Covid-10 pandemic shut down the state economy.
“We knew that it was an important project then,” she said. “Little did we know it would be even more important seven or eight months later.”
Peters noted that 80% of good jobs in Hawaii require some sort of a post-secondary credential or degree.
And while the report takes a long-term approach at training young people attending school for jobs, in the short-term it can help focus training being done with federal CARES Act funds for workers who have been displaced by the Covid shutdowns.
The University of Hawaii and the City and County of Honolulu are offering free job training to 2,000 Oahu residents with a $3 million in CARES Act funds through the Oahu Back to Work program.
And Hawaii last month was one of only eight states awarded funds under the Reimagine Workforce Preparation Grant Program, The $13.4 million in CARES Act funds went to the University of Hawaii for distance learning, expanding apprenticeship programs and developing career pathways.
The credentials report dovetails with a similar initiative to create a roadmap for talent launched by the Hawaii Executive Collaborative, the Hawaii Community Foundation, the Harold K.L. Castle Foundation and the Strada Education Network, which identifies three strategic areas for focus — expand work-based learning, rapidly reskill and credential and grow sector-based strategies.
“The talent report tells us which industries and which strategies we as a community should hone in on,” Peters said. “The credentials report tells us which credentials within those industries we should be providing our students.”