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Introduction to the Hawai‘i Language Roadmap Initiative

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The University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, with strong interest from the state of Hawai‘i’s Governor’s office, is coordinating the Hawai‘i Language Roadmap Initiative. To compete in a global economy and to respond to the demands of its increasingly diverse population Hawai‘i must promote and support the study of foreign languages and cultures. The shape of this support emanates from understanding the actual needs of the employers in the state: the businesses and government agencies dealing internationally as well as those interfacing with a multi-lingual domestic clientele and workforce. Responding to Congressional interest in 2006, the federal agency, the National Security Education Program’s (NSEP) The Language Flagship developed and coordinated a pilot language roadmap effort. Since then five states have produced “Language Roadmaps” for how best to respond to the call for their educational systems to shape young professionals with the language and cultural skills that their companies and government agencies call for. The state of Hawai‘i takes a leadership role in continuing this successful planning process for a well educated and competent workforce. Hawaii

With co-sponsorship from NSEP’s The Language Flagship, this multi-month process will bring together stakeholders from education, government, and business to assess foreign language needs and create sustainable and applicable solutions designed to meet those needs within the state. The effort leads to the creation of policies and actions that promote the creation of a competitive workforce. To date, Language Roadmaps have been produced in OhioOregonTexas, and Utah; with the latest having been launched in June 2012 in Rhode Island

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