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Creative Industries Educator Externship held to advance skills for Hawai‘i teachers, enhance student workforce readiness

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Hawai‘i teachers were invited to learn more about career pathways and technical skills in digital design, fashion design and media through a free Creative Industries Educator Externship on May 2.

Offered by the Hawai‘i State Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT) Creative Industries Division (CID), together with the Chamber of Commerce Hawai‘i,
University of Hawai‘i Community Colleges and the Good Jobs Hawai‘i coalition, the specialized
externship was conducted at the Entrepreneurs Sandbox in Honolulu.

Film and TV production were among the skills discussed at the event. Photo Courtesy: DBEDT/Creative Industries

Educators from across the state had an opportunity to receive ESEA (Elementary and Secondary Education Act) credit toward their Highly Qualified Teacher status, advance their acumen in creative disciplines and strengthen student bridges from curriculum to career.

“Teachers are at the forefront of advancing learning and career opportunities for the next generation within the dynamic creative industries,” said DBEDT Director James Kunane Tokioka. “This hands-on externship not only helps equip local educators with a deeper understanding of current industry essentials and advancements, but empowers them to enhance student preparedness for the specialized career paths that contribute to a vibrant creative economy.”

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Working with the Hawai‘i State Department of Education (HIDOE), event organizers surveyed teachers for input in shaping the Creative Industries Educator Externship agenda. Technical skill rotations were hosted throughout the day exploring topics such as fashion design process, 3D modeling, video pre-production and much more, along with networking sessions and informative panels from professionals in the creative industries. Attendees were provided with an overview of CID’s workforce initiatives, ways to maximize the ClimbHI Bridge portal, and insights into preparing students for successful careers within the creative industries.

“We recognize skill gaps that may limit access to more lucrative openings in the creative landscape as students shift from high school to post-secondary education and the workforce,” said CID Chief Officer Georja Skinner. “By cultivating collaborations between businesses, working industry experts, and the dedicated educators we have in our community, we build strong partnerships to ensure that student interests in future fields align with work-based learning. We appreciate our partners including Hyperspective Studios, Hawai‘i Media Inc., Ten Tomorrow, Tori Richard, and Pearl City High School, for dedicating their time to coach educators from across the islands as part of our commitment to building curriculum to career pathways.”

The event was a result of the Creative Industries Sector Partnership’s Career Awareness initiative, a workforce development collaboration between employers and educators. Initial takeaways from this year’s inaugural creative industries-focused externship have been positive.

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“The event helped to spark and navigate my curiosity to learn about the relevant skills and mindsets needed for my students to be competitive within the creative industry,” said participant Mathieu Williams, digital media teacher at Kealakehe High School on the Big Island. “I was able to make meaningful connections with industry professionals, other educators, and resource specialists that strengthened my sense of excellence necessary to facilitate learning experiences that truly matter for my students.”

Plans for more externships are in the works, along with a forum bringing together industry employers and thought leaders, via the next Good Jobs Hawai‘i Creative Industries Sector Partnership meeting slated for June. Creative coursework is also being expanded through Good Jobs Hawai‘i for students across University of Hawai‘i Community Colleges. For more information on learning and partnership opportunities, visit cid.hawaii.gov, cochawaii.org and uhcc.hawaii.edu/goodjobshawaii/.

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