Alumni Profiles: Electronics Technology program helps Andrew Hasegawa's career take flight
Andrew Hasegawa worked in tourism. He worked in various roles for one of the telescopes on Mauna Kea. Those were good jobs that provided solid experience, but he hit a “plateau,” as he described it, and knew he needed more education if he wanted to advance in his career.
“I thought I really needed that next step, and that’s kind of how I started looking at Hawai‘i Community College,” Hasegawa said recently.
Fast forward just a few years later, and Hasegawa has graduated with his associate degree in Electronics Technology and used his skills and degree to land a job as an Airway Transportation Systems Specialist for the Federal Aviation Administration at the Hilo International Airport.
“All I can say is, if anyone is fresh out of high school or looking for a change in career like I did, man, Hawai‘i CC is honestly probably one of the best decisions I made in my life,” Hasegawa said.
Hasegawa already had a bachelor’s degree in theater technology from a four-year college. But his second time in college he was looking for “something that was going to be practical,” he said, “something I could apply as a trade when I graduated.”
His plan worked. Shortly after graduating in 2018 Hasegawa was employed with a company with a contract to maintain the County of Hawai‘i’s microwave communication infrastructure, before moving on to the FAA.
“Coming to Hawai‘i CC my focus was razor sharp,” he said. “I had a family, I had to support them, so there was just no dilly dallying. I needed something that was going to be immediately applicable out in the real world and Hawai‘i CC did that for me. I mean, like I said, two great jobs within not even a year after graduating.”
Hasegawa joined the Electronics Technology program as it was undergoing something of a transformation.
“The emphasis in the program has been changed to be more industrial,” said Electronics instructor Bernard “Chip” Michels. “So the whole idea here is to focus more on the telecommunications and in the process and controls arena, or automation.”
That has worked out well for Hasegawa, who said the combination of the skills he learned, the credibility of the degree in the community, and job referrals from Michels have given him the kind of stable career that was his goal from the beginning.
“If you really want that education that’s almost immediately transferable to the real world, I would say, yeah, definitely Hawai‘i CC,” he said.