Higher education to boost Hawaii state workforce


The launch of Phase II of the "55 by ‘25" campaign was announced by Hawaii P-20 Partnerships for Education (Hawaii P-20), a statewide partnership led by the Executive Office on Early Learning, the Hawaii State Department of Education, and the University of Hawaii System, during an event at Honolulu Community College.

By 2018, 65% of jobs in Hawaii will require some college education, according to the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce. In addition, fewer than 42% of Hawaii's adults currently hold a two- or four-year college degree, according to the U.S. Census. This leaves a 23 percentage point skills gap, a figure which alarms Hawaii's educational leaders.

The Hawaii P-20 Council established a goal: 55% of Hawaii's working age adults should have a two- or four-year college degree by the year 2025 in order for Hawaii to meet the challenges of an increasingly global economy.

Civic leaders illustrated ways that parents, educators and business and community leaders can help achieve this goal by stressing the need for community-wide participation.

The leaders discussing the Council at a news conference included Governor Neil Abercrombie, Kathryn Matayoshi; superintendent of the state Department of Education; David Lassner, interim president of the University of Hawaii System; GG Weisenfeld, director of the Executive Office on Early Learning; John La Forgia, senior vice president and chief marketing officer of Hawaii Pacific Health; Karen Lee, executive director of Hawaii P-20 and Richard Mizusawa, UH Manoa student and chair of the UH Student Caucus.

The effort is also being supported by the Hawaii State Legislature.

"The 55 by ‘25 campaign asks everyone, not just teachers and parents, to be involved in and accountable for a child's success, which starts well before he or she enters school," Lee said. "We're calling on businesses to offer more internships and incentives for employees to complete college. We're calling on the government to expand and invest in more academic programs and initiatives. We're calling on executives to engage in more speaking opportunities at schools. We're calling on parents to get involved at their children's school, and make sure their kids get enough sleep at night and do their homework. We're calling on the entire community to put education at the forefront of our priorities."

Other supporting organizations include the Harold K.L. Castle Foundation, the Hawaii Business Roundtable, the Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii, the Hawaii Department of Labor and Industrial Relations and the HE‘E Coalition, in addition to the entities that formed the Hawaii P-20 Partnerships for Education.

Hawaii Pacific Health, Hawaiian Airlines, Hawaiian Telcom, and First Insurance of Hawaii are the major sponsors for the campaign.

01 29, 2014
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