Categorized | Education, Featured

Big Island youth leader speaks at Hawaii State Capitol

Rep. Cindy Evans and Alex Siordia (Photo courtesy of SHYLI)

Rep. Cindy Evans and Alex Siordia (Photo courtesy of SHYLI)

MEDIA RELEASE

While home for the holidays, Alex Siordia was invited by Ian Kitajima to speak at the “Innovation Briefing” by the High Tech Industry. Hosted by Oceanit & High Technology Development Corporation the VIP event was held at the Hawaii State Capitol.

Rep. Cindy Evans, who mentored Alex for SHYLI’s Job Shadow Day, attended with other legislators.

Alex is a freshman at Boston University where he is a Political Science Major. The first in his family to attend college, he hopes to be a Senator.

Other speakers from Hawaii’s leading high tech companies shared their ideas for developing a high ­growth industry for Hawaii. Companies included: Kampachi Farms, Tissue Genesis, Flywire, IBIS, Hoana, Cardax, Navatek, Livesift, Live Action, Energy Excelerator, Hawaii Fish, XLR8UH, Blue Startups, Referentia, Ulupono, Makai Ocean, and Spectrum Photonics.

“The long­term goal of growing a high tech industry is to ensure prosperity for future generations, so Hawaii’s special but fragile way of life continues,” said Ian Kitajima. “Hawaii’s children have made great strides in preparing for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) careers, and the high tech industry is making those careers possible.”

Investing in Hawaii’s Youth

“Hawaii’s economy depends on STEM jobs and investment,” said Alex referencing Hawaii’s STEM Report Card 2014. “Hawaii’s youth will have to be educated to fill these jobs. By 2018, 68 percent of jobs in Hawaii will require some level of post secondary education.”

Alex is concerned that some Big Island youth are being left behind, working at minimum wage jobs. For his Sustainability­ In ­Action Project, Alex created a College Prep Workshop to inspire local youth to go to college and work towards their own dreams.

Last April, he shared his vision at SHYLI’s Design Sustainable Hawaii Forum at Windward Community College.

At Hawaii’s State Capitol, he challenged people to get involved with Hawaii’s youth.

“People invested in me – from my parents, to school teachers and administrators at Waimea Elementary and Waimea Middle PCCS who got me a full scholarship to Hawaii Preparatory Academy; organizations like SHYLI and politicians like Rep. Cindy Evans,” Alex said. “They helped to drastically changed my life.”

Presentations were followed by one-­on-­one time with leaders from a diversity of companies to provide a unique opportunity to learn about the challenges and opportunities in high tech, as well as how the legislature can use the high tech industry to create 21st century economic development opportunities for all in Hawaii.

Alex was very impressed: “If my friends saw what I saw today, it would open their eyes, inspire them to study and go to college.”

“Alex is an amazing young man…the kind of young person we want to bring home,” Kitajima said. “Years ago at the 2050 Summit, a panel of young people were asked: ‘How many of you plan to return to Hawaii after college? None of them said they would return. Alex is the kind of young person we cannot afford to lose ­ driven by purpose, contribution, and meaning.”

Alex left the very next day to continue his studies in Boston. On his Facebook profile he is dressed in very warm clothes, playing a ukulele.

As an emerging leader he connects with the Institute’s other island youth who are attending Boston area colleges.

In June, Alex will serve as faculty on the Institute’s 11th Youth Leadership Summit for Sustainable Development.

He hopes there will be another youth delegation from the Big Island this year that will join him in learning how to make their dreams come true.

The Sustainable Hawaii Youth Leadership Initiative’s mission is to inspire young people to envision, plan and create a more sustainable future for their lives and their islands. Founded in 2010, SHYLI is a project of The Stone Soup Leadership Institute, is a 501C3 non­profit organization founded in 1997.

— Find out more:
www.shyli.org

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