Hawaii Legislators Seek to Establish the Gil Kahele Aero Technology Campus

The Department of Business, Economic Development and Technology (DBEDT) and the Office of Aerospace Development could be tasked to develop a plan for the Gil Kahele Aero Technology Campus.

Gil Kahele and Marine

One of the last bills the late Senator Gilbert Kahele introduced was Senate Bill 3073, which if passed this session, would establish the School of Aeronautical Science at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo. Looking to build upon the possibility of the School of Aeronautical Science, State Senators Brickwood Galuteria (Dist. 12 – Waikiki, Ala Moana, Kaka‘ako, McCully, and Mo‘ili‘ili) and Donovan M. Dela Cruz (Dist. 22 – Mililani Mauka, Waipi‘o Acres, Wheeler, Wahiawa, Whitmore Village, portion of Poamoho) have introduced Senate Concurrent Resolution 27 and Senate Resolution 10 requesting the Office of Aerospace Development to develop a plan for the Gil Kahele Aero Technology Campus in Hilo.

“This is more than the Senate’s way to recognize the good work of the late Senator,” said Sen. Galuteria. “This is a memoir that reflects the way he operated, bringing people together to plan and build for a better Hawai‘i. And you see that in the resolution, it brings together various groups to develop a plan for the Hilo community and the state of Hawai‘i.”

Sen. Dela Cruz has been working with DBEDT in developing industry hubs to create jobs. “We are looking at all the industries and assets relating to aerospace, aeronautics, and aviation. If the School of Aeronautical Science is established at Hilo, then we need to make sure the school is supported by all industries related to these fields,” said Dela Cruz.

DBEDT has adopted a goal of creating 80,000 new jobs with salaries over $80,000 in technology and innovation by 2030. Creating an aero technology campus in the Hilo area will help the State meet this goal by supporting a new industry and retaining local graduates.

“This is an important reality for jobs that focus on science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM)”, said Dela Cruz. “As we continue to focus and push STEM curriculum in our schools, we need to make sure there is a pathway from our schools into the industry so our students can have the proper skills to be career or college ready.”

The plan for the aero technology campus will be facilitated and coordinated among Hawai‘i’s public, private, and academic sectors, in line with the vision of Sen. Kahele and continuing to build upon the foundation he had developed over the years.

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