DOE program aims to prepare students for the workforce

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Ever dream of becoming a teacher or even a doctor? Hundreds of students across the state are getting hands-on training to help push them toward their dream jobs.

“When we are learning CPR and first aid, we have to know which patient is critical, which patient is not critical,” Molokai High School junior Paul Parker said.

These two Molokai High School students are on track to become doctors one day. Parker hopes to become a neurosurgeon while Luke Kikukawa wants to be a dermatologist.

They’re just two out of more than 550 students from across the state taking part in the Department of Education’s Career Pathway Assessment Program.

It’s aimed at helping students prepare for future jobs.

“We are learning lots of things like how to incorporate health care into scenarios like people are injured,” Parker said.

“We sign up for everything that’s available because in our small community on Molokai, it’s hard to get these opportunities and getting off island and seeing these things is really cool,” Kikukawa said.

The students are challenged with real-life scenarios in categories like education, health, digital media, and marketing.

“I think that the college I want to go to on the mainland, but I will probably come back here to work for a little while and also I would like to give back to my community on Molokai,” Kikukawa said.

Former students who have found success because of the program are also giving back by volunteering.

“It gives them the opportunity to have a feel of what it’s going to be like when they work in an actual professional setting,” volunteer Ashley Kawagishi said.

Kawagishi, now a student at the Shidler College of Business at the University of Hawaii, scored an apprenticeship right out of high school doing 3D prototyping and design.

“I continue to work with them freelance and I continue to work with the program to give back and motivate the students now, too,” Kawagishi said.

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