What They’re Watching: Carl Hinson, Hawaii Pacific Health

Carl Hinson is the Director of Workforce Development at Hawaii Pacific Health. He joins us in this edition of “What They’re Watching” to discuss workforce development.

“As we continue to see shortages across the state — you know we have the record low unemployment — we’ve started hearing more and more that about 50 percent of our high schools’ graduating seniors are deferring the decision to go on to college. And if they’re doing that, then that means the workforce that we need in the health care industry is diminishing. So, we’ve been focused on, how do we improve the health care work force? And so we’ve been working with our high schools and putting programs in the high schools so that when they graduate, they don’t need to go on to college right away. So, if they want to defer that decision, there’s an opportunity to graduate from high school, get into a decent paying occupation, and then figure out where they want to go.

So, that’s where a lot of our energy has been focused on, is that entry-level workforce, despite the fact that we still have many shortages in a lot of the paraprofessional areas and the physician areas as well. In eighth grade now, our children are being asked to choose a pathway in the high schools — they’re being asked to go into the business academy, or the health academy, or culinary academy — and that’s great. And so the schools are doing a good job of getting them kind of focused. I think as an industry, and the part that concerns me, is how do we continue that motivation? How do we keep them engaged in the health care industry throughout their high school, and then even after they leave high school, to make sure they’re coming back and working in the industry? So, that’s a big focus of concern and making sure that we get enough industry partners involved to keep the momentum going and keep them engaged in the health care industry.”