Empower Youth Through Partnerships

By Dr. Joslyn Sato, PMP | Director of Academic Outreach & PMIEF Liaison | PMI Honolulu Chapter

Engaging youth has many opportunities that can challenge and overwhelm a PMI chapter. As PMI Honolulu Chapter’s Director of Academic Outreach, I began the chapter’s quest to engage K-12 students. Like with any new offering, I faced many roadblocks and challenges when working with schools; however, I was always able to achieve little gains—one teacher, one advisor and one school presentation at a time to create awareness of a hidden gem the academic environment did not know about. These little wins are huge impacts to the Hawaii schools and student projects.

Through continued engagement, I was able to learn about the Center for Tomorrow’s Leaders (CTL), a nonprofit serving youth. The CTL focuses on developing student leaders through various programs. The CTL Ambassador program is a program that is offered in over 14 local Hawaii public high schools serving over 600 students who conduct individual school projects and team community projects. The CTL Fellows program brings together 20 students from various Hawaii High Schools to focus on identifying and implementing state-level projects. Over 100 student-led projects are launched each year at the school, local community and state level that address real issues and opportunities where students can make an impact.

Center for Tomorrow’s Leaders (CTL)

The Center for Tomorrow’s Leaders was recognized at our 1st Annual Project Youth Awards as our Kukui Award winner.

Photo: The Center for Tomorrow’s Leaders was recognized at our 1st Annual Project Youth Awards as our Kukui Award winner. The Kukui Award is awarded to an organization that displays dedication and support in incorporating and educating our Hawaii Youth with project management.

During the 2018-2019 school year, the CTL program began incorporating project management tools and concepts into their programs. In the 2019-2020 school year, PMI Honolulu helped to refine those tools to address the different types of projects students led as well as equipped the program mentors with an understanding of the project tools being used. Several mentors are also PMI Honolulu members, which adds even greater value and learning opportunities to the student’s experience. The 2020 – 2021 school year was faced with challenges by the COVID-19 pandemic, so PMI Honolulu collaborated with the CTL program on ways to streamline the tools and leverage the virtual environment. As the partnership works toward the 2021-2022 school year, we are finding opportunities to continue to embed project management into the program to increase the students’ project success and build career readiness skills. This year we will be working on integrating PMI Honolulu Chapter’s Project Youth Awards into the CTL program calendar to encourage all student teams to apply for the annual youth awards. In addition, continued refinement of project concepts and tools will continue along with building a path to encourage third-year CTL students to take their Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)® certification upon high school graduation.

Students from CTL’s fellows program took 2019 Youth Project of the Year with their “Minds Matter” project.
Photo: Students from CTL’s fellows program took 2019 Youth Project of the Year with their “Minds Matter” project.

PMI Honolulu strives to empower Hawaii students to build the skills they need to lead projects, work in teams, and be ready for the challenges and opportunities their futures hold. Thus, by building a partnership with a nonprofit serving youth like the Center for Tomorrow’s Leaders, PMI Honolulu is able to better reach a broad range of youth through an established program that promotes student academic success while building career readiness skills and connecting them to PMI and project management.