Maui offers a dedicated, well-trained workforce. More than 85 percent are high school graduates, 25 percent are college graduates, and a further 24 percent are attending, or have attended, college. Maui’s 32 public and 21 private schools are supplemented by the University of Hawaii’s UH-Maui College (UHMC), which provides degree and certificate programs as well as continuing education opportunities.
In preparing the workforce for successful careers in 21st century businesses, STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) programs are provided by many of Maui’s high schools as well as UHMC. Maui’s workforce also has access to such centers of technological excellence on Oahu as Chaminade University, the University of Hawaii (UH) and UH College of Engineering (with an enrollment of 900), and the UH Computer Science Department.
- Women in Technology
- Ke Alahele Education Fund
- STEM programs
- Office of Economic Development
- Hawaii Workforce Development Council
- Workforce growth
Women In Technology
Maui Economic Development Board’s Women in Technology project is a workforce development initiative founded in 1999 with the purpose of building and strengthening the education-to-workforce pipeline by encouraging girls, women, and other underrepresented groups into STEM careers. This program is funded in part through a partnership with the U.S. Departments of Labor, Education, and Agriculture, and has successfully brought a whole new generation of highly-skilled workers into technology and other economic sectors throughout Hawaii.
Ke Alahele Education Fund
Another MEDB initiative is the Ke Alahele Education Fund, a program created by business partners to provide scholarships, internships, curriculum development, equipment, and training opportunities to school projects and students in support of science and technology education. The mission of the program is to inspire bright, motivated homegrown students and to attract them to lucrative positions in a skilled 21st century Maui workforce.
Other STEM programs promoted by MEDB include Tech Careers Day for Maui high school students and the Excite Camp for middle school students (especially Native Hawaiians and girls).
In addition, MEDB also promotes STEM projects such as Geotech, a statewide initiative to integrate geospatial technology (GPS and GIS) into school curricula, and Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day held each February in conjunction with National Engineering Week.
Office of Economic Development
The County of Maui, through its Office of Economic Development (OED) is actively involved in augmenting public and private initiatives to provide timely, industry-driven skill training and development.
- In addition to supporting and helping fund MEDB initiatives, OED supports STEMworks (MEDB’s statewide, project-based service-learning labs) in Maui’s schools and funds course offerings at Maui Community College for subjects in high demand, such as computer science.
- OED also administers the federal Workforce Investment Act (WIA) on a local basis, together with an advisory board composed of a majority of private sector representatives.
Hawaii Workforce Development Council
State initiatives such as the Hawaii Workforce Development Council, administered by the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations, share the mission to promote a globally competitive workforce that meets business needs and fills employment opportunities.
- An estimated 450 information and technology companies operate on Maui, with a total workforce of more than 2,000, which is approximately 3 percent of the total workforce.
- While many of the sector’s jobs are concentrated in the information, communications, and defense/aerospace markets, environmental sciences, agricultural biotech, ocean science, and renewable energy were additional technology markets playing a significant role in the industry growth.
- Overall, the largest employment sectors of Maui’s economy are tourist-oriented businesses (accommodation and food services, including arts and entertainment); construction, health, and social services, retail trade, and professional, scientific, and administrative services.