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Students Intern with Local Businesses



Photo courtesy of Jennifer Hawkins

Seven Molokai High students will have the opportunity to intern with some of Molokai’s 16 businesses that were selected to attend the Made in Maui County Festival (MIMCF) Nov. 4-5. The internship is a partnership between MHS’s Career and Technical Education and Fine Arts departments, the county’s Office of Economic Development, Kuha`o Business Center, and vendors that will be participating in the MIMCF. The program is being piloted for the county here on Molokai.

“This program has the potential to take our students to the next level in preparing for the business world,” said Jennifer Hawkins, small business specialist with the Kuha`o Business Center. “Whether they plan to attend college or dream of starting their own business, we hope that this program provides them with added skills and experience to accomplish their dreams!”

The students began the program with interviews that helped place them with their business mentors to complete their 20-hour internship. Some students described the interview process as nerve-racking, while others said they felt comfortable.

“This interview helped me to understand that I need to explore more things and that when I interview, I need to be clear and not worry about being nervous,” said one student. “I’ll definitely practice before another interview, do more research, and dress better.”

Students received feedback the interview committee, which helped them grow and improve.

“Some feedback that I got was that I had a great attitude, was honest about my weaknesses and that I should keep surrounding myself with positive people and get all the business experience that I can,” said another student.

Seven students were selected through the interview process. Nadia Augustiro will be interning with Tania Kaholoa`a of Kainanea Designs; Sonja Angst will work with Anei Bakutis, Kealopiko Inc.; and Ida Pongmulee will be shadowing Patty McCartney of Pualani O Molokai Mana`e Grown Farm. Kuuhulilau Albino is interning with Wailani Tanaka of Something For Everybody; Cameryn Kahalewai will be learning from Kala`e Tangonan of Kupu A`e; Derlina Jhane Fiesta will work with Lyndon DelaCruz of Lanakila Designs; and Heavenly Brown is interning with Kahulu Peltier-Yaw of Keaohulu.

“This process is really inspiring from the educational standpoint,’ said Maliekekai Ward, Molokai High School Career and Technical Education coordinator and teacher. “The goal of our… department is not only to find opportunities for our students to be challenged, but to nurture and encourage personal growth, and help them find their passions that will motivate and carry them to that next level whatever it may be for each individual.”

Ward said students are experiencing hands-on learning at its finest and understanding how important soft skills are.  She added the next few months will be stressful, overwhelming and exciting for those participating in the program.

Hawkins would like to give special thanks to the interview committee, which included Tanaka, Councilwoman Stacy Crivello, Rob Stevenson of Molokai Chamber of Commerce, Kawika Crivello, and Kuulei Arce  of MEO Business Development Center.

“Being on the panel to interview our future entrepreneurs was an inspiring experience for me,” said Arce. “They each have a lot to offer and I look forward to working with each of them in the near future. Molokai’s future looks very bright and promising!”
Along with assisting Molokai vendors in preparing for the MIMCF, student interns will also help the their business mentors at the November event itself, which will be held at  Maui Arts and Cultural Center.

Mahalo to Jennifer Hawkins and Kai Ward for contributing to this story.


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