Helping Hawaii’s youth to fulfill their most ambitious dreams by placing public school students on a path to success, with college credits and relevant career experiences.
Nearly three quarters of all jobs in Hawaii will soon require at least some college background. With historically low unemployment, growth industries struggle to find qualified workers. Contrast our growing need for talent with far too few local youth that receive a postsecondary degree or certificate.
In 2007, the Harold K.L. Castle Foundation pledged support for Hawaii P20’s goal that 55 percent of working age adults would have a degree or certificate by 2025. In response to this challenge, the Hawaii Department of Education has increased high school graduation and college going rates while the University of Hawaii system has awarded thousands more degrees and certificates since launching their Hawaii Graduation Initiative. As a result, 44 percent of working age adults in Hawaii now hold postsecondary credentials.
We stand at the midway point of this statewide goal ˗ nine years into the effort with nine more years left to go. In response, the Harold K.L. Castle Foundation is shifting our public education strategy. We will now focus more directly on helping students to attain college degrees or industry certificates and transition to jobs that enable a comfortable life. Our priority remains to close the yawning gap in collegiate success between low-income students and their peers.
This new direction draws upon the accumulated wisdom of dozens of stakeholders to help map the complex dynamics across Hawaii’s K-12 education, postsecondary education and workforce systems.
Participants helped shape a multi-year investment in support of the new Connect 2 Career initiative, an industry-led coalition for Hawaii’s economic future to collaboratively prepare students for success in high-skill, in-demand careers. In particular, we are rolling out four primary investments in:
1. Industry-led partnerships
• Clearly defined entry level skills in regional, hi growth occupations
• Linked education and labor market data
2. Academically rigorous career pathways
• High schools that teach a college preparatory curriculum through a career theme
• Partnerships with community colleges that let high school students earn 6 or more college credits
3. Student supports
• Bridges between high school and college
• College and career counselors in secondary and postsecondary settings
• Alternative options for non-traditional students
4. Work based learning
• Industry recognized certificates that hold value to employers
• Paid externships that offer teachers insight into the world of work
• Opportunities for students to simultaneously work and learn
Please join us on this journey. We are eager to learn more about you and your work. For more information, please follow our website, on Twitter (@Alex_HKLCastle), Facebook or by email.
Click here to view Public Education Strategy 2014-2017.