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2012 Founders & Visionaries - Hawaii's Best

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Businesses are founded with a vision.

Hawaii's rich culture and strong, diverse community have been shaped and influenced by the many businesses established in the islands. From Hawaii's longest-running solar installer to one of the premier shipping lines of the Pacific, see how they started, thrived and became houshold names in providing Kama ‘aina with the BEST quality products and services.

Coming January 2013!

Look for the Founders & Visionaries-Hawaii's Best Premier Special on: 
For airing dates and times, visit www.hawaiibusiness.com/resources.


Career and Technical Education Center

Serious Business

Pathway Advisory Council Chairpersons/Members: Front (L to R), Lowell Kalapa (Business Pathway Chairperson), Tax Foundation of Hawaii; Ken Johnson (Public and Human Services Pathway), Retired Honolulu Community College.

Back (L to R) Russ Ogi (Industrial and Engineering Technology Pathway Chairperson), Consultant; Dean Okimoto (Natural Resources Pathway Chairperson), Nalo Farms; Kalei Lee (Arts and Communication Pathway), Consultant.

Missing: Sheri Gon (Health Services Pathway, Chairperson), John A. Burns School of Medicine.

What if there was a way to link high school education to real-world experience? Hawaii’s Career and Technical Education Center (CTE) does just that. Through the program’s Career Pathway System (CPS), educators offer high school students a way to smoothly transition into postsecondary education or the workforce.

This is a collaborative effort among the Hawaii Department of Education, the University of Hawaii Community College System and the Office of the State Director for Career and Technical Education that allows high school students to earn free community college credits. The students earn the credit by successfully completing a series of career and technical education courses that high school teachers teach within the high schools.

Students can choose a variety of career paths that encompass virtually all occupations: (1) Arts and Communication, (2) Business, (3) Health Services, (4) Industrial and Engineering Technology, (5) Natural Resources and (6) Public and Human Service. But perhaps the most important factor of these pathways is that advisory councils composed of business and industry representatives help to guide the curriculum. 

“CTE is the only educational program where business and industry professionals have direct input into what is taught in the classroom,” says Ian Kitajima, of Oceanit.

Sherilyn Lau, an educational specialist within CTE, agrees, “Hawaii’s CPS combines academic rigor with real-world relevance.”

Making that connection for students is essential to motivating student learning. In 2011, 89.88 percent of CTE students graduated on time, compared to 80 percent of students overall. Through CTE, students can see learning’s direct impact on their future.

“High school students enrolled in CTE CPS program of study courses have the opportunity to take statewide written and performance-based assessments,” Lau says. “Statewide assessments assure employers and postsecondary educators that any student graduating from a particular CTE CPS program of study has mastered the standards approved by the pathway advisory councils.”

This means they are equipped with the tools to progress through and succeed in their chosen career. The performance-based assessment drives home the idea that what the students are learning can be applied to the real world.

“CTE students are challenged by business and industry to develop and defend solutions to real-world problems within a two-day period of time,” says Dr. Barbara White, of the CTE Center. “Student performance is judged by business and industry professionals, and many of the students’ solutions have actually been used.”

It’s no wonder that CTE courses have seen steady increases in enrollment each year, and with the rave reviews from employers of graduates, there seem to be no signs of slowing.


Career and Technical Education Center (CTE)


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