S.B. NO.














relating to education.





SECTION 1. The legislature finds that a gap exists between the skills that students in the State have upon graduation and the skills that employers in the State are seeking. Business leaders in Hawaii's expanding industries have reported that it is often difficult to recruit local applicants who have the skills and experiences that the employer needs. The legislature further finds that many high school graduates in Hawaii go elsewhere to attend college or seek employment, resulting in a "brain drain" in the State.

Employers say there are not enough skilled workers graduating. For in-demand jobs in health care, engineering, computer science, and advanced manufacturing, there are not enough people in Hawaii being trained.

The legislature additionally finds that for most of the twentieth century, people obtained marketable skills and achieved prosperity in one of two ways. The first was on the job. By promoting from within, firms enabled workers to progress to higher-level occupations. Unions negotiated career ladders that were linked to skills and seniority, and they joined employers at an occupation or industry level to host apprenticeship and other training programs. That system ensured an adequate flow of new talent equipped with state-of-the-art skills.

But as unions declined, so did apprenticeships, other union-employer training programs, and promotion from within. Only twelve per cent of the total United States workforce and seven per cent of the private sector workforce is now unionized. At the same time, the kinds of skills needed by employers changed from incremental new ones that can easily be learned on the job to those that require advanced technical and behavior skills in problem solving, communication, teamwork, and leadership that existing production and employment paradigms lacked.

The second path to skills acquisition was through college. Young people were told that the key to the American dream was to play by the rules and major in a field that suited the student's interests and talents, but the demand for people with liberal arts degrees has dropped sharply. Only fifteen per cent of college graduates in the United States major in science, technology, engineering, or math. This is a percentage that has remained constant for two decades even as demand for these skills has grown.

Consequently, the capacity of the United States system to nurture midlevel skills is in decline, just as a shift to flatter, team-based structures is increasing the need for those skills and automation is reducing the demand for less skilled workers. Nevertheless, forward-looking local initiatives are making progress in addressing the skills gap in their regions. These initiatives embody at least one of the following attributes:

(1) Multiple employers in the region or industry sector cooperate with one another and with educational institutions to design and fund initiatives to train and hire graduates;

(2) Classroom education is integrated with opportunities to apply new concepts and skills in actual or simulated work settings, in an approach proven to be the way adults learn best; and

(3) Training focuses on offering workers career pathways rather than just skills for the initial job.

The legislature also finds that there needs to be an alignment between the department of education and local industries creating a workforce pipeline from kindergarten to twelfth grade to career. Currently, the department has established several options to prepare students for either a college or career pathway:

(1) Academies or pathways for high school;

(2) Dual-credit programs enabling students to graduate high school with college credits; and

(3) Career and technical education programs.

However, no high school or complex has developed and established an industry specific pipeline to prepare high school graduates with the skills needed to enter the workforce upon graduating high school. Such programs may include certifications, licenses, foreign languages, and other credentials and skills that make the students career ready.

No aggregate estimate of the shortage of middle-skills workers exists, but the number is expected to grow substantially as more baby boomers retire. The problem is most acute in the utilities and aerospace sectors, where fifty to sixty per cent of those workforces are eligible to retire by 2020 or likely to leave for other reasons, but it afflicts other industries as well. Although the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics does not publish estimates of job openings by skill category, combining government data on education and training requirements leads labor market experts to estimate that as many as twenty-five million, or forty-seven per cent, of all new job openings from 2010 to 2020 will fall into the middle-skills range. Shortages of workers for these types of jobs are already undermining competitiveness and causing firms to shift their operations abroad. Developing ways to train people to fill those well-paid jobs could help remedy the wage stagnation gripping the State and close the growing gap between high-income and low-income households.

The primary obstacle is execution. For the past three decades, businesses and government have focused on overhauling kindergarten through twelfth grade science, math, and reading education and on addressing persistently high dropout rates. There exists a need for such reforms, but progress has been too slow to remedy the looming skills shortages.

The legislature further finds that educational programs specializing in career readiness and technical skills can be effective in preparing students in Hawaii to enter the job market in the State. In January 2016, the governor announced a state-wide initiative to help prepare students for careers in fast-growing segments of the State's economy. The legislature also finds that similar educational initiatives at schools within the State have been established to develop students' technical skills and prepare them to enter the workforce.

The legislature additionally finds that public-private partnerships can assist in training workers to fill the middle-skills gap. Realistically, that can happen on a large enough scale only if business leaders cooperate with one another, and with unions and educational institutions, regionally and nationally.

The purpose of this Act is to allow students to enroll in career and technical programs in schools outside of the service area in which they reside.

SECTION 2. Chapter 302A, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by adding a new section to be appropriately designated and to read as follows:

"302A-   Career and technical education programs; enrollment. (a) A school having a career and technical education program shall:

(1) Enroll any student who resides within the school's geographic service area pursuant to section 302A-1143;

(2) Enroll all students from outside the school's geographic service area who submit an application, unless the number of students who submit an application exceeds the capacity of a program, class, grade level, or building;

(3) Determine whether capacity is sufficient to enroll all students, and if not, then use a lottery system to select students described in paragraph (2) who have submitted a timely application; and

(4) Give an enrollment preference to students enrolled in the school during the previous school year.

(b) The department shall adopt rules pursuant to chapter 91 to carry out the purposes of this section.

(c) For the purpose of this section, "career and technical education program" means a program operated by a school that primarily focuses on learning and skill development in students through the practical application of academic and technical skills and knowledge."

SECTION 3. Section 302A-1143, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended to read as follows:

"302A-1143 Attending school in what service area. A person of school age shall be required to attend the school of the service area, as determined by the department, in which the person resides, unless:

(1) The person is enrolled in a Hawaiian language medium education program or charter school;

(2) A geographic exception to attend a school in another service area is requested and granted at the discretion of the department; [or]

(3) Out-of-service-area attendance is mandated by the department or by federal law[.]; or

(4) The person is enrolled in a career and technical education program under section 302A-  ."

SECTION 4. Statutory material to be repealed is bracketed and stricken. New statutory material is underscored.

SECTION 5. This Act shall take effect upon its approval.








Report Title:

Career and Technical Education Programs; Public Schools; Department of Education; Educational Choice



Allows students to enroll in career and technical education programs in schools outside the service area in which the student resides.




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