Developing home-grown talent to prepare our youth for workforce opportunities is a shared goal of the Maui Economic Development Board, UH Maui College, the County of Maui, the State of Hawaii, and tech businesses around the islands.
Pacific Defense Solutions is one Maui tech company that has demonstrated its commitment to this goal. Over the summer, two student interns from UH Maui College’s Electronics and Computer Engineering Technology program were retained as part-time employees with a mandate to get their degrees. Provided all goes well with their studies, PDS intends to offer them full-time positions when they graduate — incentive and encouragement for students Laurie Hozaki and Chad Nagata.
It’s an indication of the capabilities of the students, graduates of Baldwin and Maui high schools, who have made the best of their educational opportunities. It’s also an indication of a company philosophy that fully supports training an Island-based STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) workforce.“We view it as part of our stewardship. Our goals are not only to cultivate a Hawaii-based workforce, but help to expand opportunities for the Maui-raised kids as well,” says PDS President Wes Freiwald. The key factor though is: “They do good work.”Eight Hawaii raised and educated personnel are among the 28 engineers and program developers at Pacific Defense Solutions involved in image stabilization and service support of space situational awareness. Only three were recruited from outside Hawaii since PDS was founded in 2006.
While Freiwald says PDS is fortunate to have found the talent it needs in Hawaii, PDS’s support for MEDB and programs like the Akamai Workforce Initiative internships is a factor in developing the talent. Commitment to the community is another reason Pacific Defense Solutions is a 2009 Mayor’s Small Business of the Year winner. In August 2009, Pacific Defense Solution LLC was honored by Pacific Business News as one of “Hawaii’s Fastest 50,” Hawaii’s fastest-growing small businesses.