Archive for the ‘Hawaii job opportunities’ Category

Dev League Computer Coding Scholarships

April 9th, 2014

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 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 The company has posted three new courses on its web site (click here).

Small Packages Lead to Big Box Plant

March 10th, 2014

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.


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


March Makeovers, Part 2

March 4th, 2013

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.


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.

Must CCTV News and Updates

November 7th, 2012

"Tomorrow there'll be sunshine, and all this darkness past... this train, carries saints and sinners... this train, carries losers and winners...

This train -- dreams will not be thwarted... this train -- faith will be rewarded... this train -- bells of freedom ringing."

- Bruce Springsteen, "Land of Hope and Dreams"

Not gonna gloat, but yes, I felt like my faith in democracy was rewarded. Big Super PAC Money lost in the national races. The Fox News propaganda machine lost. Equal rights for gays won yesterday. The failed War on Drugs approach to criminalizing marijuana also took hits in state initiatives. And locally, rail will move forward. It's called progress, and that scares a lot of folks. Always has, always will.

Yet this is what makes America great. We move forward. Forget what you keep hearing about the status quo being preserved. That's nonsense. The elections proved that if Republicans continue to take the "just say no" obstructionist approach to government, they are doomed for extinction -- nationally and in Hawaii. Honestly, I wish we had a strong two party system because debate can be a good thing. But when one side is being run by Mainland right wing zealots and the local GOP candidates won't denounce them, there really is no choice, is there?


Moving on, got some quick updates related to friends of my Career Changers TV show that we've featured in past episodes.

Kathy Custer, owner of Keiki Sitters, sold her OBAMA Car with the only Hawaii OBAMA license plates in existence for $10,0000. Which is a bit disappointing since it hit that mark on the first day of bidding and didn't budge, even after it was apparent the President had won a second term. Still, Kathy was happy that the proceeds will allow two young students to continue their college education. (Click here for the back story.)

• On our current CCTV show, we interviewed Dave McClure, founder of 500 Startups, who was here for the Geeks On A Plane event that was part of the Hawaii Food & Wine Festival. Earlier this week, Dave was on the new Bravo series called Start-Ups: Silicon Valley. Two young wannabe hotshots set up a meeting to ask him for $500K to fund their new online venture, and the hungover sister decides to take a nap under the conference room table while waiting for Dave... even though she and her brother know Dave is one of the biggest venture capitalists in the world. Needless to say, Dave is not impressed when he walks in and sees the disheveled young lady crawling out from under the table. It's actually a lousy show that bears little resemblance to what real start-ups go through. Instead, watch our segment on Big Island entrepreneur Darius "Bubs" Monsef to see how he turned a "goofy" idea about rating colors into a multi-million dollar business (here's the CCTV YouTube Channel link).

• I haven't watched this week's delayed Hawaii Five-0 Halloween episode yet, but another friend of the show -- Yvette LaFontaine, owner of the Costume Closet in Kapahulu -- told me she supplied some of the costumes that were used. Here's a segment we did on her for last year's Halloween show.


Lastly, Hurricane Sandy devastated the small town in New Jersey where I grew up -- Union Beach, located next to the Raritan Bay. I saw videos and photos of houses that were torn in half or totally demolished. Nothing was recognizable. I used to get into arguments with intelligent friends back in NJ about whether global warming was real. They scoffed at Al Gore's "Inconvenient Truth" and Republicans denounced climate change as a myth. Well, if you look at his charts for how high the ocean could rise, it matches up with Sandy's path of destruction. Sea level rise will not happen gradually. It will occur in surges, according to scientists.

This is a wake-up siren for Hawaii. I have been arguing for years that the shoreline setback requirements on Oahu are NOT strong enough. People are building too close to the ocean. Yet the Honolulu City Council continues to ignore the reality of climate change and rising sea levels. What happened to Union Beach can happen to my current home town of Kailua and many other parts of Hawaii. When will we learn?

For daily viewing times of Career Changers TV, please visit our website... and for those who oppose rail, why not think about how we can make it better, instead of trying to stop  this train called progress. This is a chance to preserve ag lands, decrease carbon emissions from cars, revitalize areas around new terminal stations, and create good paying jobs.

Thank God, the elections are over! Due to incessant spamming, comments are closed. But if you really want to say something, email me and I will post it as long as it's civil.

Local Stories on National TV

October 5th, 2012

We interrupt my originally-scheduled blog on Vegas gambling lessons, to bring you this update on local folks who will be appearing on the Travel Channel and Cooking Channel this weekend -- people we just happened to have featured on my Career Changers TV show. More on that in a bit.

On Eden Eats, Cooking Channel 322/1322, you can catch her Honolulu episode in which they filmed Aye Aye Maw's Burmese Pop-up Dinner a few months ago. Although the premise of Eden's show is they visit different ethnic restaurants and eating experiences within a 24 hour period, they actually spend several hours  -- even days -- at each location to get the shots they want. In this case, it was the Pacific Gateway Center, and the filming crew was there for a very, very long time I was told. That episode also includes Agnes' Portugese Bake Shop in Kailua. (The owner, Non, and I go way back to my pre-rehab days when I used to frequent Jake's Hideaway on Bishop Street, where he was a bartender back around 1986-88.)

That episode airs today (10/5) at 4 pm and 8 pm, then again on 10/6 at 3 pm and 7 pm, but will probably be repeated throughout the month if you search for it. Our segment on PGC's pop-up dinners ran all last month on OC16 and can be seen on the CCTV YouTube Channel by clicking here. By contrast, our low budget run-and-gun shoot took only about 2 hours and was minimally invasive, which was greatly appreciated by the PGC staff and dinner guests.

Over on Travel Channel 325/1325 this weekend, Legends of Hawaii will feature paranormal investigator Preston Galera and Hawaiian historian/ghost tour guide Lopaka Kapanui. We just did new segments on them for our Halloween edition of Career Changers, premiering Saturday night on OC16 after high school football (around 9:30 pm). You can DVR it this weekend at 2:30 am on 10/7 or 9 am on Monday... or view them in small screen, lower res format by going to the Trick or Treat link on our website.Trick or Treat

You'll also find a couple of Lopaka's ghost stories that we couldn't fit into the show, along with segments from past Halloween episodes on that page. Over the next couple of weeks, I'll have more to post about other interesting news related to those people and filming that show!

For daily viewing times and other useful links, please visit and check out videos from past or current episodes on the CCTV YouTube Channel. Have a great weekend... and let's hope the Bows -- er, "Warriors" -- don't get blown out again in San Diego! BTW, Lopaka is related to Chad Kapanui, a former UH football player many old-time fans will remember.