Interest in trade programs in Hawaii rises

Local News

It’s graduation season and across the islands, thousands of students are preparing for life after high school. However some of these graduates may be considering a different course from a traditional college education.

Professionals say they’re seeing a growing number of students enrolling into a trade program straight from high school. A trade program is a program that gives students on-the-job experience as they study the profession. Some trade programs include construction, electrical work and culinary work.

Damien Kim with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers says part of what attracts young people to going into the trade business is that  in most cases, it can lead to quickly finding a job.

Apprentices can also learn and get paid at the same time.

“Our contractors pay for the training itself,” said Kim. “So they get their free education with us and get out there and work, and it’s on the job training. So you work and you’re getting a paycheck while you do that, and for every thousand hours for us you get a raise.”

Kim says another thing that’s attracting young people is job security. 

There’s a lot of condominiums now coming out of the ground. I predict in the next… starting from late this summer to maybe five years, it looks pretty well for construction,” said Kim.

He says they have about 550 apprentices statewide currently, who have opportunities to snag coveted full-time jobs.

“Every year, we have people retiring, and that’s why with our apprecticeship program, we’re looking at filling those positions,” said Kim. “we’ve got to make sure that we replace, in those five years, all the ones that could retire. But at the same time, we do hire extra because as constructions progress, it may get busier.”

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