2040 Lauwiliwili Street Kapolei, HI 96707

Empowering the Future

High School Graduates Embark on Construction Careers After Completing Summer Internship Program

Building Dreams: High School Graduates Set Sights on Construction Careers

In Kapolei, Oahu, a group of recent high school graduates is proving that the future of the construction industry is bright and promising. Twenty-two determined students have recently completed the Career Connections Summer Internship Program, an initiative that gives them a real-world taste of construction work and a direct path into the Hawaii Carpenters Apprenticeship & Training Fund (HCATF) apprenticeship program.

A Summer of Transformation

The six-week internship program has been a transformative journey for these students, offering them invaluable hands-on experience in various construction trades. It’s a time of learning, growth, and discovery, culminating in their proud receipt of completion certificates. This achievement is more than just a piece of paper; it’s a ticket to a rewarding career path that lies ahead.

Empowering Young Talent

Leanne Tacadena, a graduate from Waipahu High School, exemplifies the spirit and determination of these young interns. Initially intimidated as one of the few women on site, Tacadena’s passion and commitment grew stronger with each passing day. Her journey from intimidation to empowerment is a testament to the program’s ability to inspire and mold future professionals. She’s now eagerly advancing towards her apprenticeship with Group Builders, motivated by the desire to excel in her chosen field while staying close to her roots.

A group of summer interns pose outside the 2040 Kapolei Training Center with Training Coordinator Kapuni Patcho.

The Program’s Broader Impact 

The Career Connections Summer Internship Program, now in its fifth year, serves as a crucial conduit between high school students and the construction industry. Robert Kapuni Patcho, an HCATF Training Coordinator, emphasizes the program’s role in introducing the construction field as a viable and exciting option for young individuals. With the industry facing challenges in attracting fresh talent, initiatives like this are vital in changing perceptions and encouraging more young people to consider careers in skilled trades.

Continued Focus and Collaborative Success

As the program wraps up, half of the interns are heading into their senior year of high school, now with a clear focus on their future careers in trades. This wouldn’t be possible without the dedication of various contractors partnering with HCATF, from Nordic PCL to Swinerton Builders. Their commitment showcases the industry’s united effort to nurture the next generation of construction professionals.

The Takeaway 

The Career Connections Summer Internship Program is more than just a summer job; it’s a foundation for lifelong careers. As these students step confidently towards their future in construction, they carry with them the skills, experiences, and support garnered through this program. They are not just building structures; they are building their dreams and, in turn, contributing to the growth and innovation of Hawaii’s construction industry.

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