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Universal Banker program event attendees
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A new curriculum developed at the University of Hawaiʻi through a partnership with Hawaiʻi’s banking industry will train the “universal bankers” of tomorrow. Current bank employees at American Savings Bank, Bank of Hawaiʻi, Central Pacific Bank, First Hawaiian Bank, Hawaiʻi National Bank, Finance Factors and Territorial Savings Bank will pilot the course in July. Training will then be available through UH Community College non-credit programs. It’s one of the outcomes of innovative industry sector partnerships across the state.

Over the last year, key leaders from business, education, economic development and workforce development have been coming together to better understand and collaboratively address workforce and economic development needs in Hawaiʻi. Conceived by UH and implemented by the Chamber of Commerce Hawaiʻi (with assistance from Genz Consulting), these “sector partnerships” are providing a statewide, structured process to convene stakeholders to collaboratively address issues around specific economic sectors.

Partnerships have been established in sectors such as banking and finance, information technology, food manufacturing, healthcare, engineering and agriculture.

Sherry Menor-McNamara, president and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce said, “The sector partnerships are changing the way business, education, workforce and economic development sectors are interacting to identify and, most significantly, address local workforce needs.”

Hawaiʻi’s first sector partnership was launched in June 2016, championed by Rich Wacker, president and CEO of American Savings Bank, and the Hawaiʻi Bankers Association. Banking executives and human resource directors identified high priority talent needs in banking and finance and developed an agenda for improving their talent pipeline.

Partners discussed the skills that all new hires will need to successfully enter a banking career. They established a universal banker steering committee to develop a training program for universal bankers. Bank subject matter experts and a UH curriculum design team worked together to develop a universal banker curriculum, specific to Hawaiʻi, that can be taken online, face-to-face or in a blended format.

Neal Okabayashi, executive director of the Hawaiʻi Bankers Association said, “The curriculum and training will better prepare Hawaiʻi’s youth to enter the ever changing global market workforce of tomorrow. This is a step to expand their employability in the face of new challenges in the banking industry. The project resulted from a cooperative effort by stakeholders and was spearheaded by the University of Hawaiʻi, the Department of Education and the Chamber of Commerce. We appreciate the diligent effort of our partners so that we may all serve Hawaiʻi’s future.”

The sector partnership activities are part of UH’s broader Building Hawaiʻi’s Innovation Economy and Workforce initiative, which was launched in January 2016 with the support of Strada Education Network. Partners for this initiative include the Hawaiʻi Business Roundtable, the Chamber of Commerce Hawaiʻi, Hawaiʻi State Department of Education, Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism, and Department of Labor and Industrial Relations.

For more on sector partnerships, visit Net Generation Sector Partnerships.

—By Kelli Trifonovitch

Universal Banker Program event attendee

For more images from the training, see the UH Foundation flickr.

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