Archive for the ‘Hawaii career opportunities’ Category

Dev League Computer Coding Scholarships

April 9th, 2014
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While filming our segment about the first-ever Honolulu Mini Maker Faire at Iolani School last month, I heard about Dev League's coding boot camps and introductory programs for kids who have an interest in computers. We just had a brief mention of them in the piece that's running on the current episode of Career Changers TV, but that led to Russel Cheng calling me to talk more about what they're doing... and I'm glad he did, because it's directly related to many topics we've covered on my show.

We've done a number of stories about startups, business incubators and accelerator programs, which all have one thing in common: they need people with computer coding skills to set up websites, program software and create apps for smart devices. Yet there were no intensive hands-on training programs in Hawaii to teach coding in a concentrated time span, according to Russel, until they launched Dev League's boot camps a few short months ago. He believes graduates who complete their 12-week course will have a good chance of receiving high-paying job offers from big companies that he and his partner, Jason Sewell, are working with -- and that's the key to justifying their price tag of $10,000 per student for the program.

It sounds like a lot of money... and it is, but if you compare it to college costs for courses and degrees that may not lead directly to any kind of employment in that field, it seems like a much better deal for anyone who wants a career in high tech. What's more, if coming up with the tuition is a challenge, you may be able to qualify for a scholarship or financial assistance. I'm copying excerpts from the Dev League press release below. We'll be doing a segment on them for our May episode, but you can find links to our Mini Maker Faire video on the CCTV YouTube Channel and daily viewing times for Career Changers TV by clicking here.

BTW, there's still time to sign up for their next "part-time" 26-week course,  April 28 - October 25 Wednesday & Thursday 6 - 10pm, Saturday 9am - 8pm

From Dev League's press release:

Dev League to Advance 21st Century Technology Competency in the Islands Announces Scholarships and Tuition-Assistance for Coding Courses
In its groundbreaking business initiative to bring technology competency to the Islands, Dev League today announced two scholarships: a tuition-assistance loan plan and a federally-funded workforce development program to help motivated individuals learn professional web development at its coding boot camp. Located at the Manoa Innovation Center, the 12-week program aims to ready students for jobs in entry-level web development both here in Hawaii and on the mainland.

According to LinkedIn, the top 25 hottest skills of 2013 required coding skills. Technology skills are highly valued. Web programming was number 13, right between number data engineering and algorithm design.

The Women Who Code scholarship is 25 percent off cost of tuition for a single selected applicant to a qualified female applicant. The low-income scholarship is 100 percent off cost of tuition for a single qualifying applicant. Both scholarships are sponsored by Dev League to increase diversity and opportunity in the tech industry.

Dev League’s partnership with Upstart.com is a tuition-assistance plan that enables applicants to finance their tuition over a term of five or 10 years based on future income. This unique loan program helps match qualified “upstart” individuals with “backers” who make offers to help fund an individual.

Oahu WorkLinks job development program enables qualified applicants up to 80 percent tuition assistance to Dev League via its federally funded job training services as part of the Workforce Investment Act program. To learn more about the scholarships, tuition-assistance programs and to apply, visit the Dev League web site at http://devleague.com/apply. The company has posted three new courses on its web site (click here).

Makers Movement and More

April 1st, 2014
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Makers pix

PROGRAM ALERT: The new April episode of Career Changers TV premieres Thurs., April 3 at 7:30 PM on OC16 (channel 12/high def 1012). For daily viewing times, please visit www.CareerChangers.TV. You can also watch segments on the CCTV YouTube Channel, which now has over 200,000 views and is climbing each month. Contact me directly if you're interested in advertising on the show or being a featured sponsor!

Above is a photo of my videographer, Stanford Chang, shooting b-roll of the first-ever Honolulu Mini Maker Faire at Iolani School on March 15. Despite the obsolete spelling of "faire," it has nothing to do with medieval times or making miniature fairy sprites -- although they did make mini-robots and small 3-D printed objects for demo purposes. There were also knitters and do-it-yourself types who work in all types of mediums, from film and virtual reality to woodworking, metal and molded plastic.

So what is the Maker Movement all about? Watch the show or view the segment to find out! We also did a separate piece on the Hawaii Inventors group, and three of the products they had on display at the event. BTW, hats off to Iolani School for hosting the Mini Maker Faire, which was actually spread out over two floors of the Sullivan Center for Innovation and Leadership. What was cool is the faculty and students seem to have a creative flair themselves, as evidenced by their homage to Frank Sinatra... in the elevator of all places!

Sinatra elevator

Above is the back wall of the elevator, which plays Sinatra music and has other visual references to his recording career, courtesy of #iolanihackers. While we were filming, there were a number of students who were working on various high tech projects that weren't a part of the Makers fair. I also saw younger kids who signed up for Makers workshops that taught soldering. So one thing you can say about the Makers Movement -- and Iolani School -- is that they both take an eclectic approach to creativity.

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In the same episode, we have a segment about the fun and quirky Hound & Quail shop on Kapiolani. Never visited it before? Actually, it's not that easy since they're only open three hours each week on Monday due to the partners' full-time professions. Mark Pei is a pilot for Hawaiian Airlines. Travis Flazer works for the theater department of Punahou School -- er, "Theatre" I mean... another old-timey English spelling like "Faire." No wonder foreigners think English is confusing. Here's the link to that video.

Anyhow, if you're wondering what the story is behind the name, there really isn't anything specific -- other than their interest in taxidermy, including mounted birds and other animals that had me thinking about Norman Bates in PSYCHO. But Mark and Travis are really nice, intelligent, normal guys... well, just a tad off center, perhaps.

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WAIMEA VALLEY NEWS: On Sat., April 5 at 10 AM, they will be officially dedicating the renovated amphitheater to Rudy Mitchell. "Uncle Rudy" has been an integral part of the valley's history and vision, according to Richard Pezzulo, Waimea Valley Executive Director. You can learn more about the restoration of the amphitheater (not "amphitheatre") and other new developments by watching the piece we did back in February (click here).

Small Packages Lead to Big Box Plant

March 10th, 2014
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Rengo (medium)

One of the Job Quest job fair stories that didn't make it into this month's Career Changers TV show is posted on the CCTV YouTube Channel, which has now topped 180,000 total views and averages more than 28,000 views per month. But many of our business-oriented stories fly under the radar and don't get much attention because they don't have a built-in following from social media or they shy away from publicity.

Such was the case with Rengo Packaging. Never heard of them? Neither did I, so when I spotted their booth at Job Quest, I went over to investigate who they were and what type of jobs they were looking to fill. Turns out this was the company that sprung up after Weyerhaeuser closed the Honolulu box plant in 2008... well, actually, there were some important interim steps along the way. First, 13 former Weyerhaeuser employees formed Hawaii Box and Packaging to act as a distributor, but weren't producing the boxes locally. Then in 2011, they were acquired by Rengo, the largest corrugated box manufacturer in Asia. Rengo decided to build a new plant on Oahu that was scheduled to open this month and start making boxes by June 1. Here's the link to the video segment. They are looking to hire 30 to 40 new employees -- no small thing in Hawaii's job market.

The reason I took a personal interest in their story was back in 2008 I was deeply involved in the beach access movement because some residents in Kailua put up a locked gate on a "private" beachside lane that neighbors had been using for years to get to the beach. I met Scott Werny, who was the Surfrider Oahu co-chair at the time, and he helped me organize the statewide Groundhog Day rallies that generated a good deal of media attention for the cause. His day job was being a packaging engineer at Weyerhaeuser -- which fascinated me since you don't often think about what goes into designing something as simple as a box. Yet there's a myriad of factors that a designer has to take into account for each product.

After Scott got word the old W plant was closing shop, he told me about the small group that was going to form their own company to continue as a distributor. But he acknowledged it was risky, and it was no sure thing they would succeed. A few months later, Scott was hit with more unexpected bad news. He was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. Friends rallied to support the young father of two kids, yet he asked us to make donations to the National Parkinson Foundation on his behalf instead of focusing attention on him. That's the kind of person Scott is.

It had been a couple years since I last spoke to him, so I asked Rengo's Operations Manager Glenn Masaki if Scott was still working for them. Yes, he said. Scott is their one and only packaging designer, and his Parkinson's is under control. Later, I caught up with him on the phone and he sounded great. His personal life was in transition again (divorce, moving to a new place) while his professional life is doing well now that Rengo has given them the capital and resources to build their new plant at Campbell Industrial Park with about 4 acres under roof.

So, next time you get a pizza delivered or buy a box of locally-made candy, chances are Scott and his co-workers at Rengo were the folks who are responsible for the packaging. It's a testament to the resilience of hard-working people in Hawaii, who didn't give up when a big company decided to pull up stakes... or when personal challenges confronted them. If you would like to make a donation on Scott's behalf, here's the link to the National Parkinson Foundation site. Progress has been made in treating the disease, but there is still no cure.

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For daily viewing times of the new schedule for Career Changers TV, please visit www.CareerChangers.TV.

 

The Power of Images

April 5th, 2013
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PB sunflowers

Program Alert: The new April episode of Career Changers TV will premiere around 6 PM Sat. night, April 6, instead of its regular 8:30 PM time slot because of OIA baseball. Time is approximate since my show will be sandwiched between two games. However, you can DVR it at the regularly scheduled week day times, which are listed at www.CareerChangers.TV.

The photo above is what prompted me to do a two part feature on Pacific Biodiesel, our lead story in the April show. During the big APEC event in November 2011, I was visiting the scientific/technology expo at the Convention Center and saw PB's display. In addition to the sunflowers photo, there were samples of oil seed crops and used cooking oil that had been converted to biofuel. I got to talking with Beth Mathias, their director of marketing and sales, who told me how they started in Maui and were now growing test crops on Oahu and building new plants on the mainland, Japan and the Big Island.

My first thought was, wow, I'd love to film those sunflowers in bloom for widescreen high definition television! The biodiesel plant on Sand Island sounded like it could provide good visuals too. One of the challenges of producing a low budget local TV show about business and career stuff is that many of the stories are predominantly composed of talking heads in office settings. So I try to find interesting locations where we can shoot our introductions, and if possible, get a story out of that place. We did our April intros at Waimea Valley, and that turned into three separate pieces, which are included in the new show. (You can see the small screen low res versions on the CCTV YouTube Channel by clicking here -- looks way better on real TV though!)

Pacific Biodiesel was growing camelina when we filmed, in part, because there was a problem with sunflowers: birds love to eat the seeds. And it's the seeds that are crushed for their oil. What's interesting about the project is the connection to the military. They provided funding because biofuel could be used in an emergency if our oil supplies were cut off. PB can plant, harvest and convert biodiesel within a hundred to 120 days. Besides that benefit, the seed cake byproduct is high in protein and can be good feed for livestock, so it has added profit potential for local farmers.

Speaking of the power of images to get the public's interest, here's a shot of a celeb who needs no introduction. PB started out recycling cooking oil waste next to a Maui landfill... and now famous entertainers like Willie Nelson, Jack Johnson and Woody Harrelson have endorsed their community-based model.

Bob_Willie_Fueling_5799

BIB Aerial F

They also recently went online with their Big Island Biodiesel plant, which cost about $15 million to build. This is homegrown, sustainable business at its best.

Next post: more about Waimea Valley and how they have turned around the business end by focusing on Native Hawaiian culture. It's a great example of sustainable tourism -- and in the process, they're bringing back more local residents to this island treasure.

March Makeovers, Part 2

March 4th, 2013
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Picking up where I left off in my last post, the second twist in Alanna's makeover for the current Career Changers TV show (airs tonight at 8 PM on OC16, which is actually channel 12 or 1012 on high def) came after Nordstrom Rack provided her with a new outfit for job interviews. Before I get to that, gotta thank Stella Porter, the store manager, who went the extra mile for Alanna by adding accessories and shoes. There's a reason the Nordstrom name is synonymous with great customer service, and you can see it in their staff's efforts from the top person to the assistants on the floor.

So we head over to the Paul Brown Salon at Ward, and Paul hobbles out, bent over slightly. He was having back spasms and had just recently recovered from a bad case of the flu while he was on the mainland. Yet Paul was committed to doing the makeover. The show must go on, as they say, and Paul is definitely a showman as well as a top notch stylist. Somehow, he blocked out the pain and focused on giving Alanna his full attention -- check that, not just his attention, but his entire staff. Again, superior client service from top man to newest employee. They had specialists for her hair coloring and make-up, and it turned out one of the assistants was a familiar face...

In my prior post, I mentioned we met Paul while filming a fashion show put on by students at the Paul Brown Institute, which is now part of Remington College and no longer run by Paul himself. However, he takes an active interest in the cosmetology school that bears his name, and he scouts new talent at events such as these. The show we filmed is part of this segment (click here) and was put together by Kalipo -- who is now working for Paul at their flagship salon in Ward Center. Another unsolicited testimonial for a major sponsor, Remington College. As I noted before, "for profit" colleges on the mainland have gotten a bad rap, but I've seen good results at both Remington and Argosy for students who applied themselves and took advantage of real job opportunities those schools offer. You can see the Nordstrom Rack and Paul Brown segment of the makeover by clicking here.

CORRECTION: Remington College changed to non-profit status last year, so technically is not considered a "for profit" school.

tatt removalAwhile back when I was just starting the Career Changers TV show, I wrote half-jokingly in this blog that if I was looking for future business opportunities to franchise, I would go into tattoo removals... I mean, look at all those young girls who get tramp stamps and guys with face/neck tatts that seemed like a good idea at the time. Flash forward a few years, and that dainty butterfly now looks like a whale tale, and Mr. Cool Face Tatt doesn't seem so hip when Mr. Employer has already mentally crossed this inked-up dude off his list of possible hires. Not only that, the military has stricter policies on tatts; and some companies such as Hawaiian Airlines have a no-visible tattoos rule for certain jobs.

Little did I know that tattoo removal has, in fact, already become a big biz -- and there are different methods that are available. I had heard about lasers being used, but didn't realize that it doesn't work for all colors and can be pretty painful. Laser removal generally requires multiple visits and may result in scarring too. But there is an alternative method, which is offered by Joelle Johnson at her Kapahulu Ave. location at Hee Hing Plaza. She's a career changer herself, and you can see her segment tonight at 8 PM on OC16 or the low res YouTube version by clicking here.

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For other daily viewing times, visit www.CareerChangers.TV. You can also watch segments from past and current episodes on the CCTV YouTube Channel. BTW, did you catch KGMB this morning? Coincidentally, they had one of their reporters go out to SeaBreeze (now called H2O Sports) to try out their jet pack, which I just blogged about a couple weeks ago in this post.