Archive for the ‘Hawaii colleges’ Category

Holiday Networking

December 28th, 2011
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Used to be that for many companies, the holidays were a time to call on clients and thank them for their biz or throw parties to impress prospects. It also gave people a chance to catch up with business contacts, and put out feelers for other career opportunities or job openings. For years, I've been sending Hawaii Christmas cards to Hollywood connections, just to remind them I'm still writing screenplays (usually with a note about what I'm currently working on to see if they'll nibble).

With so many people out of work or looking to make a career change, what surprises me is how few actually take advantage of the holiday season to do some networking. It seems like fewer and fewer people send out Christmas cards, while company parties have become a thing of the past. Sure, I understand the need to cut expenses and avoid lawsuits resulting from inebriated employees doing inappropriate things. But I still think it's nice when companies arrange little get-togethers or mixers for workers and clients to share positive feelings at least once a year.

I also look forward to getting short handwritten notes from friends who send cards. Frankly, the Facebook postings aren't really very personal and tell me more about what that person wants others to think of them, than what they actually think about things or how they're doing. And if that person has time to post mostly trivial stuff on Facebook, yet "doesn't have time" to send cards or write notes to friends, what does that say about them or your relationship?

Anyhow, if you're looking for work or new job opps, this is the time to reach out and call someone or send them a personal email/card/letter to tell them you're having a rough time. Even if they can't help you at the moment, it might lead to something down the road should that person hear about an opening somewhere. More importantly, it's a good excuse to get together with old friends IRL -- in real life -- instead of skimming through their Tweets and FB wall posts.

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You can still catch our December episode of Career Changers TV until next Thursday (click here for daily viewing times on OC16). One of the segments is about Argosy University's commencement ceremony last month at the Hawaii Convention Center. For those who aren't familiar with the school, you'd be surprised at how fast they have grown in the past three years... and there's an inspirational story within the segment about a former meth addict, who has turned her life around. For the low resolution YouTube video version of that segment, click here.

While we were shooting that piece, I had some words of advice for graduates based on my own ill-advised attempt to emulate a commencement tradition: do NOT toss your cap in the air at the end of the ceremony. Those things have sharp corners and are potentially lethal. I tossed my hat high in the air -- and it came down hard and fast, hitting a young woman in the face right behind me. Nearly took her eye out. She was angry, and I felt like a fool. Bad move.

Speaking of caps and gowns, the Argosy commencement program included interesting background on the symbolism of colors and designs used. Did you know the sleeves of bachelor's and master's gowns are differently shaped? Or that the doctoral hood attached to the gown identifies the wearer's academic heritage? Here's the Wikipedia link for more info on that.

Not addressed in the piece is the question of what to wear under the gown. When I graduated from grade school, the boys wore blue gowns and the girls wore white. All the guys in my class wore dark pants -- except me. I had white slacks on, so when you look at the group photo, it was easy to pick me out by my white pant legs.

Have a safe and Happy New Years!

"New Day" Rejection Letter - Finally!

October 20th, 2011
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With all the attention that was given to the departure of high level advisers to Gov. Abercrombie, little mention was made of all the other positions that thousands of people applied for back in November 2010 when the New Day Hawaii website was unveiled. Since I wanted to see how the job application process went, I submitted my resume and cover letter online... and never heard back until I got a form rejection letter about three weeks ago.

That in a nutshell, is what is wrong with government. Good intentions die young, due to lack of follow-through. I wasn't expecting a personalized response right away. However, better-run companies and organizations usually have an auto-reply to let you know they received your application, then let you know your status in a few weeks. But taking nearly a year to get back to you? Sheesh.

What's more troubling is Neil touted the use of social media during his campaign, and implied his New Day staff would be communicating in an open fashion with constituents. You know, through Facebook, Twitter, regular email updates. As producer of the local Career Changers TV show, I tried contacting him and his aides via Facebook, Twitter, emails and even this Star-Advertiser blog. I wanted to interview the Gov or one of his people about their plans to create jobs in Hawaii. Never heard back from anyone. Granted, I'm small potatoes compared to the TV news -- but OC16 does reach over 300,000 cable subscribers, and our CCTV YouTube videos have been watched by thousands of local viewers. So what the heck is going on with Neil's PR people?

Anyhow, the offer stands. I'd love to have either the Gov or one of his staff go on camera and talk about specific things they are doing to spur economic growth in the islands. No hard feelings about getting the rejection letter almost a year after I applied. Oh, btw, the letter from Transition Director William Kaneko says they reviewed more than 3,600 applications for "the few exempt positions available" (didn't say how many). That's a lot of voters -- or former supporters -- to alienate in a few short months by ignoring them.

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Speaking of politics, I haven't seen anything in the local press yet about a 26-year-old candidate for City Council named Martin Han. I was interviewing him for a sponsored segment about Remington College success stories, when he casually told me he was running for the District 7 seat currently held by Romy Cachola. My initial reaction was, um, yeah... good luck with that. But after learning more about Martin's background and spending some time around him, I have to say he's got a lot of energy and charisma.

He also has been building up a network of support that taps into young voters through his role as Marketing Director for MMA Hawaii, which is the local news source for all things related to mixed martial arts fighting and events here. He says their website has gotten over 7 million hits and the MMA Hawaii magazine has a distribution of 30,000 per issue. Born in the Philippines, Martin went to high school in Chicago and was a sports star in track and football. He says he turned down a Division I football scholarship offer -- he knew he'd have a hard time with school, primarily because English wasn't his first language. At Remington, he says he was able to learn at his own speed with the assistance of faculty who worked with him to overcome his education obstacles.

The other reason he has to be taken seriously is money. His parents own an electronics manufacturing company on the Mainland that apparently has done pretty well. They bought him a house on Hawaii Loa ridge when he moved to Hawaii. But he's also finding financial supporters in the local Filipino community and from businesses associated with the MMA scene. Still, it's a big jump for any 26-year-old to run for City Council. Too bad there aren't more young people with that kind of drive and desire to serve the public.

Here's a link to Martin's website.

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Don't forget to check out the current Halloween edition of Career Changers TV. For daily viewing times, visit www.CareerChangers.TV. You can also watch videos from the show on the CCTV YouTube Channel. Mahalo!

Best/Worst College Majors

May 20th, 2011
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Had to chuckle when I was watching the news and they interviewed a young local woman at her college graduation ceremony. She said it was like a huge weight had been lifted from her shoulders now that she had her degree. I thought: Whoa, you think college was tough? Good luck finding a job!

But who knows. Maybe she majored in a field that requires little or no experience to get hired and pays a high starting salary -- or at least enough to afford the rent on a studio apartment that isn't an hour's drive from Downtown. I do not envy the current crop of college grads. More than ever, I think the major you choose has a direct impact on your career potential. It's not like it was in the 1970s and 80s when you could get a liberal arts degree and still find a decent job related to your interests. I majored in political science (intended to go to law school) and minored in journalism (which derailed my law school plans). However, none of the companies I worked for seemed to care much about what I studied in school. They looked at what I did as a college newspaper reporter and editor, and took note of my actual work experience. Even if it was just part-time or summer jobs, my resume at age 22 showed I had a track record of being a reliable employee.

Anyhow, came across this ranking of "most useless" college degrees on the Daily Beast website, based on average career salaries, job openings in that field, and projected job growth through the year 2018. (Link goes to main article and slide show). For those who are too lazy to read the article, here are the Top -- er, I mean Bottom Ten majors, according to the Daily Beast's criteria:

Most Useless Degrees

1. Journalism

2. Horticulture

3. Agriculture

4. Advertising

5. Fashion Design

6. Child and family studies

7. Music

8. Mechanical engineering technology

9. Chemistry

10. Nutrition

Figures something I care about deeply is at the top of the list. I've also been in advertising and have friends who are struggling to stay afloat in that line of work. Also had many musician friends, who wound up in desk jobs. I'm surprised to see mechanical engineering, chemistry and nutrition on that list though. With obesity being such a major problem these days, you'd think nutritionists would be in heavy demand. And if you look at the "most useful" degrees below, you'll see engineers and certain types of math and science majors are listed:

Most Useful Degrees

1. Biomedical engineering

2. Business

3. Education

4. Software engineering

5. Petroleum engineering

6. Multimedia and web design

7. Nursing

8. Finance

9. Biochemistry

10. Management information systems

Biggest surprise for me was seeing education listed so high, especially in this anti-teachers political climate. But can you really "rank" majors in relation to personal satisfaction, long-term? Eg., as a writer, I've met many lawyers who are working on novels and screenplays, while itching to get out of that profession (law isn't even in the Beast's Top 20 Useful Degrees). My younger brother graduated from M.I.T., known for their engineering programs -- yet he had no real desire to go into that field after he got his degree.

Me, I have no regrets about majoring in poli-sci and studying journalism. What I really got out of college was an education about life-long learning, which I continue to use to this day.

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For daily viewing times of the current Career Changers TV episode on OC16 and other useful job-related resources, please visit our website. You can also view video segments from the show on the CCTV YouTube Channel. Enjoy the weekend!

Don't Call it Gilligan's Island

May 13th, 2011
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Coconut Island field trip

Who doesn't love field trips?

I felt like an excited kid when Rob Reynolds and I got to film a high school science class at the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology (HIMB) research facilities on Coconut Island in Kaneohe Bay. It took three months to set up the shoot with Malia Rivera, who oversees the high school outreach program. First, we needed to get approval from the University of Hawaii, since HIMB is part of that system. Then we had to get Kamehameha High School's consent, along with signed release forms from parents to film the students for an upcoming Career Changers TV episode. But it was well worth the wait. I'll have more to say about the experience next month when we air that segment. Here's a few quick notes I jotted down that I don't want to forget...

Unexpected Hollywood connections: You probably know Coconut Island was in the opening credits of the 60s sitcom, Gilligan's Island. You might also be aware scenes from Lost were filmed there too. But I bet you didn't know one of the HIMB staff was in the Waterworld movie. I was chatting with Fritz, the skipper of the boat that transported us to the island, and he said he was part of the trimaran crew in that big budget Kevin Costner bomb, which was filmed off the coast of the Big Island.

It came up because I mentioned I had written a sci-fi screenplay about genetically-engineered super crabs that take over the Big Island, which got some interest from the Waterworld producers a few years ago. Turns out that two of the HIMB researchers we interviewed specialize in genetic studies. However, they did not think my scenario of GM seafood making food of humans was very plausible. I guess they don't watch the Syfy Channel, which regularly shows movies such as Mansquito and Sharktopus.

Moku O Lo‘e is Coconut Island's real name. Malia grew up on the Windward side, and now has a PhD that brings her full circle to the bay she loved as a child. But she frowns whenever the Gilligan's Island references come up, mainly because there's so much more to its history and place in Hawaiian culture. (Click here for more on that.)

Malia told us it was Princess Pauahi who had the coconut trees planted in honor of Queen Emma, and there are over 370 of those trees on the 28-acre island. In fact, the coconuts are now a hazard and she had us walk on certain paths to avoid being conked on the head by falling fruit -- or are they actually nuts?

Sea life studied spans the gamut: Everything from invasive algae (they're experimenting with urchins that feed on gorilla ogo) to tiny snapping shrimp, dolphins (sound experiments related to the sonar controversy) and sharks -- not just hammerheads, but sand sharks, reef sharks and tiger sharks that we saw swimming around in enclosed pens.

Cool dolphin story: Staff saw dolphins outside the pen and thought some of the research animals had escaped. They were actually wild bottlenose dolphins. Malia doesn't know if it was a coincidence, or if the dolphins were somehow attracted to the pregnant dolphin inside the pen that gave birth two days later.

Budget cutbacks impact field trips: The HIMB outreach program to get more kids interested in the marine sciences has been a big success, reaching thousands of students from the fifth grade up to high school seniors. Some we interviewed want to pursue studies in that field as a career path. Others come to appreciate and respect our environment more when they get this kind of hands-on experience by performing simple experiments under the HIMB staff's guidance.

But last year, due to furloughs and No Child Left Behind requirements, many students were left behind in classrooms and not able to take part in this program. That's  too bad, because what we saw were students who were engaged and learning in ways you don't see in a standard classroom setting. Cutting back on things like field trips may save a few bucks, but it kills dreams and aspirations for children who could grow up to be scientists and researchers like Malia Rivera.

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Keep the motor cooler thing name ideas coming! That segment and new features on the Pacific Gateway Center kitchen incubator for start-up food businesses are airing daily on OC16. Visit our website for viewing times or check out the CCTV YouTube Channel for video segments. Have a great weekend!

Boaters Feedback Wanted

April 12th, 2011
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Float inflatedOn our April CCTV show, we decided to test the local waters with an infomercial about a new ocean rescue device that was developed by Hawaii Kai inventor, Dr. Rob Yonover. It's an inflatable paddle board type life raft, which folds into a carry-on bag that weighs just 15 pounds, and takes up very little space on boats.

For you boaters and fishermen, I have a question: What do you think of the $350 price, which includes Dr. Yonover's patented RescueStreamer® as well? The streamer is a signaling device that unrolls to a length of 40-feet, and has plastic struts to keep it from twisting up when deployed in the water or on land. Here's the link for the Life/Float order page, which includes videos for that and the streamer (at bottom of page).

According to Dr. Yonover, most boats in Hawaii don't carry standard life rafts because they cost upwards of $3,000 and take up room. The rigid life rafts must also be serviced regularly... so $350 for the Life/Float and streamer combo seemed like a good offer to us. But is that too pricey to sell on TV or through the internet? Would you be more inclined to buy it at a retail store or boating show, where you could see it up close?

Your opinion is important to us because we're considering doing a 1 or 2 minute version that can air on the Mainland in other markets where there are lots of boaters. You can tell us what you think in the comments below or by emailing me at richfigel@gmail.com. Mahalo!

F at night

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Do you click on the Honolulu Pulse pictures links on the Star-Advertiser front page? If so, you may have seen the photos from the Venetian Masked Ball at the ArtZone. A few months ago, we did a feature on Kurt Kaminaka -- the owner of the ArtZone house -- and it's really a pretty interesting story. You can view the video on the CCTV YouTube Channel by clicking here. I hear KK has plans to create a new ArtZone house project, but am not sure if he sold the first one yet, which was his plan.

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Speaking of remodeling projects, one of our sponsors has moved into new office space that used to be occupied by the bookstore at the corner of Bishop Street and Hotel Street. Over the past two years, Argosy University has seen enrollment grow to the point where they needed to expand their facilities. Their admissions and administrative staff are now at the new location, and the old offices were converted to additional classrooms on the fourth floor of the American Savings Tower at Bishop Square. You can see that segment on the current show or click here for the video. They also have regular open houses, which usually are tied to academic programs they offer. To find out more, you can call them at 536-5555. Tell them Career Changers sent you!

For daily viewing times on OC16 and other useful links, please visit our website. You can also watch videos from past and current shows on our CCTV YouTube Channel.