Workforce resiliency: a ‘Be Ready for Anything’ future

Posted on May 27, 2021 in Capitol Connection, Featured, Main

The big picture: What is Hawai‘i 2.0? “It’s seeing the future and finding ways to keep the state, our workforce and businesses in the forefront,” said Governor Ige. “The lesson of the pandemic is that the digital economy is here to stay, and every business and organization will need to embrace it. We’re looking to help people and organizations make that transformation. The more digital skills you acquire, the more opportunities you’ll have.” The Ige administration and public-private sector partners have launched several initiatives to prepare Hawai‘i’s people for a digital future by improving connectivity and providing skill training. This “Ready for Anything” mindset also reflects the need to diversify the state’s economy, as well as ourselves, with skills adaptable to whatever the future throws at us, including new tech developments and economic shocks like the pandemic.

Digital literacy and job training 2.0The Workforce Development Council (WDC), under the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations, has a plan to build resiliency into Hawai‘i’s people and programs. It’s part of Hawai‘i’s Remote Work Pilot Program to train and connect local residents to future jobs in tech and other sectors. Working with the counties, WDC and the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT) have already launched pilot projects through Instant Teams and FlexJobs to train and place Hawai‘i residents in remote work positions as well as Amazon Web Services. But what if you’re still at the lowest level of tech skills? How do you take the first step to a different career? And what kinds of skills will you need? To answer those questions, WDC surveyed its own board members and employers for their best forecast. The result is WDC’s Workforce Resiliency Initiative, based on the skills nearly 150 stakeholders said they need in future workers. The two core areas include basic digital literacy and professional “soft skills” such as problem solving, communication and collaboration that can be assets in any job sector.

Free digital literacy classes are available statewide, says WDC’s Ka‘ala Souza.

Free digital literacy classes are available statewide, says WDC’s Ka‘ala Souza.

FREE CLASSES FOR BASIC SKILLS, JOB TRAINING – To give any Hawai‘i resident 18 and older a first shot at the future, free, in-person digital literacy classes are being offered statewide through June 30 at UH community colleges and several public libraries. The single, three-hour classes are designed to help those with little to no computer skills and provide access to further online learning. To register at a UH community college near you, call 235-7334 or visit www.digitalreadyhawaii.org. “These free digital literacy classes are part of the state’s commitment to digital equity and the WDC’s drive to position Hawai‘i as a place and people with the highest digital literacy in the world,” said project manager Ka‘ala Souza. He likens it to the 1800s when Hawai‘i’s people had one of the highest literacy rates in the world. “Now we’re saying the same kind of importance applies to digital literacy. If you’re digitally literate, you have options,” said Souza.

He said a key piece of the Hawai‘i 2.0, “ready for anything” mindset also includes providing local residents with free job training opportunities. As of June 1, WDC has a contract with LinkedIn Learning to provide nearly 3,000 licenses for free access to its online platform and a similar arrangement is planned for Coursera. “The world is in a different place, and the thing that will help us to be resilient and ready for anything is a foundation and framework of lifelong learning,” said Souza. Visit www.digitalreadyhawaii.org for details.

Read more in the June Capitol Connection newsletter.

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