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DLIR: ‘Hot jobs’ and future growth

Posted on Jun 30, 2017 in Capitol Connection, Featured, Main
WORKFORCE TEAM: DLIR director Linda Chu Takayama (standing) with Elaine Young, Carol Kanayama and Jay Ishibashi.

WORKFORCE TEAM: DLIR director Linda Chu Takayama (standing) with Elaine Young, Carol Kanayama and Jay Ishibashi.

The good news is Hawai‘i’s job market has never been better for someone looking for work. That’s according to the state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations. “We’re projecting growth in nearly all major industries, including construction, hospitality, education and health services, trade, transportation and utilities,” said DLIR director Linda Chu Takayama.

So what are some of the “hot jobs” now and through 2018?  DLIR has a list based on education and job openings — from no formal training and high school diplomas to doctoral and professional degrees. The list ranges from restaurant waitstaff, carpenters and medical assistants to registered nurses and social workers. It also lists wages, training required and annual job openings. (

“We look at every job segment along the pipeline,” explained Takayama. “We want to match industry demand with the different skills and training needed. We also can’t define success just based on college entry since the goal is gainful employment. That could mean trade apprenticeships, shorter programs, and on-the-job training, too.” Part of DLIR’s kuleana is to work directly with industry leaders to develop relevant job training. They’re partnering with the Chamber of Commerce, the UH community colleges and other providers for skills upgrades in banking, information technology, food manufacturing, health care and agriculture. The neighbor islands are collaborating on their own industry sectors in healthcare, food and agriculture.

The goal? To make sure local residents have the skills to find jobs and meet the needs of rapidly changing industries. “For instance, banks are transitioning from tellers to “universal banking” to provide broader financial services so we’re launching a pilot program for training with Windward Community College’s Office of Continuing Education in the fall,” said Takayama. “We’re also working with Kapiolani Community College on a pharmacy tech program in partnership with CVS stores.”

DLIR also helped long-time sugarcane workers who lost their jobs after Maui’s HC&S shut down last year. “At first, we were just counseling them on unemployment and medical benefits,” said Takayama. “But after a while, some of them started coming as a group to computer training to learn new skills. They had worked together, side by side, for so long.”

DLIR has a number of useful online resources such as HireNet Hawaii (, a one-stop online site for jobseekers and employers. They also have a list of One-Stop Centers across the state to help anyone looking work or wanting to make a career change. Go to details.

Read more in our July issue