Creative Industries Educator Externship Conducted to Advance Creative Technical Skills for Hawaii Teachers, Enhance Student Workforce Readiness

Posted on May 9, 2024 in News

For Immediate Release: May 9, 2024

HONOLULU—Hawaii teachers were invited to learn more about career pathways and technical skills in digital design, fashion design, and media through a free Creative Industries Educator Externship on May 2, 2024. Offered by the Hawaii State Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT) Creative Industries Division (CID), together with the Chamber of Commerce Hawaii, University of Hawaii Community Colleges and the Good Jobs Hawaii coalition, the specialized externship was conducted at the Entrepreneurs Sandbox in Honolulu. Educators from across the state had an opportunity to receive ESEA (Elementary and Secondary Education Act) credit toward their Highly Qualified Teacher status, advance their acumen in creative disciplines, and strengthen student bridges from curriculum to career.

“Teachers are at the forefront of advancing learning and career opportunities for the next generation within the dynamic creative industries,” said DBEDT Director James Kunane Tokioka. “This hands-on externship not only helps equip local educators with a deeper understanding of current industry essentials and advancements, but empowers them to enhance student preparedness for the specialized career paths that contribute to a vibrant creative economy.”

Working with the Hawaii State Department of Education (HIDOE), event organizers surveyed teachers for input in shaping the Creative Industries Educator Externship agenda. Technical skill rotations were hosted throughout the day exploring topics such as fashion design process, 3D modeling, video pre-production and much more, along with networking sessions and informative panels from professionals in the creative industries. Attendees were provided with an overview of CID’s workforce initiatives, ways to maximize the ClimbHI Bridge portal, and insights into preparing students for successful careers within the creative industries.

“We recognize skill gaps that may limit access to more lucrative openings in the creative landscape as students shift from high school to post-secondary education and the workforce,” said CID Chief Officer Georja Skinner. “By cultivating collaborations between businesses, working industry experts, and the dedicated educators we have in our community, we build strong partnerships to ensure that student interests in future fields align with work-based learning. We appreciate our partners including Hyperspective Studios, Hawaii Media Inc., Ten Tomorrow, Tori Richard, and Pearl City High School, for dedicating their time to coach educators from across the islands as part of our commitment to building curriculum to career pathways.”

The event was a result of the Creative Industries Sector Partnership’s Career Awareness initiative, a workforce development collaboration between employers and educators. Initial takeaways from this year’s inaugural creative industries-focused externship have been positive. “The event helped to spark and navigate my curiosity to learn about the relevant skills and mindsets needed for my students to be competitive within the creative industry,” said participant Mathieu Williams, digital media teacher at Kealakehe High School. “I was able to make meaningful connections with industry professionals, other educators, and resource specialists that strengthened my sense of excellence necessary to facilitate learning experiences that truly matter for my students.”

Plans for more externships are in the works, along with a forum bringing together industry employers and thought leaders, via the next Good Jobs Hawaii Creative Industries Sector Partnership meeting slated for June. Creative coursework is also being expanded through Good Jobs Hawaii for students across University of Hawaii Community Colleges. For more information on learning and partnership opportunities, visit, and

About the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT)
DBEDT is Hawaii’s resource center for economic and statistical data, business development opportunities, energy and conservation information, and foreign trade advantages. The DBEDT mission is to achieve a Hawaii economy that embraces innovation and is globally competitive, dynamic and productive, providing opportunities for all Hawaii’s citizens. Through its attached agencies, the department fosters planned community development, creates affordable workforce housing units in high-quality living environments, and promotes innovation sector job growth.

About the Creative Industries Division (CID)
CID, a division within DBEDT, is the state’s lead agency dedicated to advocating for and accelerating the growth of Hawaii’s creative economy. Through initiatives, program development, and strategic partnerships, the division and its branches implement activities to expand the business development, global export and investment capacity of Hawaii’s arts, culture, music, film, literary, publishing, digital and new media industries.

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Laci Goshi
Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism
(808) 587-9006

Susan Wright
Becker Communications