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Lack of high quality jobs and large corporate entity branches in Hawaii have led to a service-based economy. Jobs in Hawaii that carry greater benefits are usually those that are either unionized (i.e. Hawaii State Teacher's Association -HSTA), government based (i.e. civil servant) or tourist or construction based. Since construction and tourism adequately go hand in hand, Hawaii's service-led economy offers limited professional jobs with potential for advancement. Minimum wage or tip-based jobs are common with the number of restaurants and hotels in Hawaii.
Hawaii's City & County in conjunction with the Hawaii Tourism board have worked to renovate vast parts of the downtown area and central Waikiki for expected increases in tourism. Beautification projects recently have added to the cities in Hawaii while preservation acts in cooperation with federal and state agencies have improved on existing historical areas. Increases in film production in Hawaii (another industry given large tax breaks in attempt to develop a new industry) including the hit television show "Lost" have provided another means for Hawaii's new economic growth. A pending monorail system is in the works to connect the two furthest parts of the island of O'ahu, trying to improve on the existing traffic congestion problems and more cultural projects including native Hawaiian ones are under way.
The University of Hawaii at Manoa's business school is now ranked in the top 100 graduate business schools in the nation and the marine and genetics programs here are beginning to turn a corner. Hawaii may be at the start of having a more diverse economy. Hawaii's dreams for opportunities outside the tourism industry may become a reality in the near future.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|