25 Jan 2022

UH, Chamber of Commerce Hawaii partner with industry to boost IT workforce

The University of Hawaiʻi, in partnership with the Chamber of Commerce Hawaii (Chamber), today announced findings from the IT Workforce Needs Analysis conducted by SMS Research with support from the UH Community Colleges and the Harold K.L. Castle Foundation. The study looked at current and future gaps between information technology workforce supply and demand. Results will inform education and training programs, including K–12, UH and statewide programs, with the goal of preparing local students to successfully compete for in-demand IT and cybersecurity jobs in Hawaiʻi.

“The University of Hawaiʻi is committed to prepare our students with the essential technology and professional skills to effectively compete for living wage jobs, and to contribute to the growth, resilience and security of Hawaiʻiʻs business, health care, energy and agricultural sectors,” said Garret Yoshimi, UH vice president for IT and chief information officer. “The need for a highly skilled IT workforce in Hawaiʻi has never been greater and we are perfectly positioned, together with the community of Hawaiʻi employers to educate and effectively prepare our residents for these high paying jobs of the future.”

Key findings of the analysis include:

Hands typing at a keyboard
  • In 2020, the IT sector in Hawaiʻi was responsible for 12,740 jobs, 3,834 hires and 894 annual job openings.
  • Average tech industry hourly wage in Hawaiʻi is $39.92, 157% higher than the $15.53 ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) individual living wage.
  • Employment for computer and mathematics jobs in Hawaiʻi is projected to increase 7% between 2020–30.
  • Top three fastest-growing IT occupations in Hawaiʻi from 2018 to 2028 are projected to be information security analysts, computer and information research scientists, and software developer and software quality testers.
  • Training programs, including internships, are highly valued by employers as a way for entry-level IT job candidates to acquire professional skills such as critical thinking, problem solving and flexibility. More training programs are needed.
  • Demand for IT employees in Hawaiʻi exceeds the number of available individuals seeking IT jobs in the industry.

“As a Hawaiʻi employer, we need to hire skilled technology professionals and expect that this need will continue to grow over the next few years as technology becomes more prevalent throughout all industries,” said Pacxa President Kelly Ueoka. “We would like to see local candidates successfully compete for these jobs and believe training programs are an important component to job readiness and skills development. We look forward to working collaboratively with other employers, educators and community partners like the Chamber of Commerce and the University of Hawaiʻi to provide training opportunities to local residents.”

Industry Leap-Start

With recommendations from the analysis including the need to provide more training opportunities for students and new graduates, UH and the Chamber, in partnership with participating employers, are planning to launch Leap-Start, a training program to provide students with on-the-job experience to prepare them to successfully compete for IT employment in Hawaiʻi.

Through Leap-Start, UH will provide employment and trainee employment for student participants, and participating Hawaiʻi employers will provide temporary job opportunities and may opt to directly hire program participants at any point in the process.

Student participants will benefit from having gainful employment in the IT workforce while gaining practical work experience and developing professional skills that substantially improve their marketability and value in their future job search.

Employer partners

Building Hawaii's IT Workforce of the Future flyer

The Chamber’s role is to engage employer participants and partner with UH to create the mechanisms to engage with employers and program participants and launch the program.

“Preparing local residents to fill in-demand jobs in IT, data science, cyber and cloud computing will require engagement by Hawaiʻi’s business community. We look forward to helping to bridge business with education, working together to provide the training, preparation and mentoring students and new graduates need to successfully compete for jobs,” said Chamber President and CEO Sherry Menor-McNamara.

A coalition of stakeholders will be kicking off new efforts on January 26 with the “Building Hawaiʻi’s IT Workforce of the Future” presentation. In addition to UH and the Chamber, stakeholders include the Harold K.L. Castle Foundation, Hawaiʻi State Legislature led by Sen. Donovan Dela Cruz, TRUE, Hawaii Technology Development Corporation, Hawaii Defense Alliance, CIO Council and CyberHawaii. The event is free and open to the public. Interested attendees can register online.

To partner with other employers to build Hawaiʻi’s technology talent pipeline, interested employers are encouraged to take a brief survey.