Preparing the workforce of tomorrow at Hawaii's public schools

Business leaders are helping guide classes in public high schools that teach students real-world skills

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Chanel Taylor first took automotive classes at Kaimuki High, then enrolled in the Hawaii High School Auto Academy’s summer program. Now, she works at a Servco Toyota dealership.

Photo: David Croxford

Training Outside the Classroom

Some CTE programs take place during school breaks, outside of high schools, and are funded entirely by industry donations.

The Hawaii High School Auto Academy runs a six-week course during summers for recent high-school graduates and others.

The auto academy is in its ninth year, thanks to a collaboration of Honolulu Community College, the Cutter car dealerships and First Hawaiian Bank. Since the program began in 2004, FHB has donated more $125,000 and its latest gift of $22,500 in July ensures the auto academy will keep running through 2015. Students spend half their days doing class work at HCC and the other half in a Cutter internship.

The partnership was born out of a need for workers. “It is an industry that is starving for people and nobody thinks about it,” says Terry Bennett, service manager at Cutter Chevrolet.

Chanel Taylor took automotive classes at Kaimuki High School for four years before graduating in 2005 and was planning to take further courses in college when she heard about the auto academy and enrolled. “They give you the hands-on experience of working at a dealership,” she says. Taylor has since received her certification from HCC and now works at a Toyota dealership.


Courses of Study

Go to the online version of this story at to see links to:

  • A list of high schools statewide showing the pathways each offers;
  • A list of the full range of courses offered in the different CTE pathways, though note that each school does not offer all the possible courses in its selected pathways.

Completed Their Programs

Number of 12th grade students who have completed the requirements for a CTE program:


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