On-island opportunities abound

KAPA’A — “Are you global ready?” was the message put forth by leaders of the 2006 Kapa’a High School Career Fair.

To reinforce that question to current students, organizers brought back Kapa’a High School alumni who are currently enjoying employment in various fields in the community.

Gini Kapali, one of the 18 alumni who participated in the Friday event, noted that at the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) where she is employed, there are no fewer than eight Kapa’a graduates.

Ashley Kuhaulua, a Kapa’a 2004 graduate, is one of the students who now is employed by TSA where she said she will use her employment as a stepping stone to expand her horizons.

Kapali said that high school seniors can become employed by TSA locally, and use that employment to continue to earn income when they leave for college.

“There are 420 airports in the nation where they can go,” Kapali said. “All they need is a high school diploma and the ability to meet the basic criteria for employment.”

These include skills in English and communication, computer keyboarding, math and reading, and customer service skills.

“But, the best thing is that they get to have a job on Kaua’i,” Kapali said. She added that for next week’s presentation at the Kaua’i High School event, she will modify her presentation to feature alumni of that school.

Being able to attain career goals on-island appeared to be a major feature being touted by the field of 54 presenters as Dr. Kani Blackwell pointed out that you can attain a teaching degree here on Kaua’i.

As a reinforcement to that statement, Sarah Waterman who will start her mentoring program next week, was on hand to help Blackwell push that point.

Blackwell, formerly of Washington D.C., will be working with Kapa’a High School’s Kimberly Stuart with the hopes of one day being able to teach science to students here.

“It’s a wonderful career,” Waterman said, expressing her love for the water and marine life.

Nathan Momohara is a graduate of Kaua’i High School, and just three months ago, was able to return as an engineer for the United States Navy at the Pacific Missile Range Facility in Mana. He, too, was on hand to demonstrate to students that careers in the technology field are attainable here.

The idea of students being able to experience the work world while still in school was further reinforced by Andy Hill, manager of the Sears store at Kukui Grove.

“We have at least 20 openings right now,” Hill pointed out. “As an example of what people can earn, our sales people in the appliances and electronics section average between $15 to $25 an hour.”

“Some of the students are still trying to find themselves,” he observed. “But, many are really serious, and want to get an early start on their (post-high school) education. This is a really good event, and I’ll come any time to support them.”

For others like Kaua’i police officers Mark Ozaki and Dan Miyamoto, the Career Fair was not only an opportunity to answer questions about a career in police science, but provided an avenue for students to ask numerous questions about substance abuse while browsing through their display.

Opportunities for non-traditional educational opportunities abounded as Kaua’i Community College Automotive instructor Daryl Gerrardo pointed out two female students, Dawne Moriguchi and Karissa Yamamoto, who were on hand as testament that the automotive field is “not just for guys.”

“These two girls are in the classes under the ‘Women in Technology’ program (administered by the Kaua’i Economic Development Board),” Gerrardo said while Yamamoto offered up a laser-assisted spray paint gun to one of the visiting students. “Last semester, both girls made the Dean’s List,” Gerrardo added while assisting Moriguchi with readings from a sensor that determines the thickness of automotive paint.

Kapa’a High School juniors Shelbree Yata and Sherina Rodero-Workman both had eye-opening experiences at the fair as well.

Yata, who is aspiring towards a career in forensics, and Rodero-Workman, who is looking to a career in the culinary arts field, both said they were enlightened by a stop at the United States Army booth.

“They have a lot of information, and programs in the fields we’re interested in,” the pair said. “Right now, that’s something else to look at. They have almost everything. And, we thought they only fight.”

The career fair was open to Kapa’a High School students who signed-up with the field of registrants that included school counselors as well as leaders of the school’s student and leader-ship councils.

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