HPU Assistant Professor of Information Systems and Program Chair of Business Analytics and Information Security Ghazwan Hassna, Ph.D., presented on February 15, 2023, on the importance of both soft and hard skills and professional certificates at a Hawaiʻi CIO (chief information officer) Council meeting. The Hawaiʻi CIO Council is a forum for all CIOs in Hawaiʻi (public, private and non-profit organizations), and according to their website, the Council’s mission is to facilitate the collaboration of IT leaders across Hawaiʻi.
Hassna, who is the HPU Faculty Senate and Assembly Chair, emphasized in his presentation the need for developing both hard and soft skills to prepare students for Hawaiʻi's growing technology industry, as well as the importance of earning professional certificates for workforce development.
“If we compare soft skills to an operating system, and hard skills to software applications, soft skills are critical to enhancing the performance of hard skills in the workplace,” Hassna said in his presentation. “If the necessary soft skills are developed and cultivated, hard skills will function more effectively, leading to a highly skilled and competitive workforce.
Hassna provided insight into how HPU addresses soft skills on the institution, program, and course levels. He also shared his approach to developing hard and soft skills through professional certificates and hands-on group projects. He provided a concrete example of a course where professional certificates were used to develop in-demand hard skills, while a hands-on project was designed to focus on the development of the most in-demand soft skills, such as collaboration, communication, critical thinking, problem-solving, and teamwork.
In his presentation, Hassna emphasized that incorporating professional certificates with the development of soft skills is critical to creating a highly skilled and competitive workforce that meets the needs of Hawaiʻi's technology industry. By providing students with both hard and soft skills, HPU is equipping students with the necessary tools to succeed in their careers and contribute to the growth of Hawaiʻi's economy.
The presentation was well-received by members of the CIO Council of Hawaiʻi, who praised Hassna for the valuable insights and actionable strategies for addressing both hard and soft skills development in educational programs and curriculum design.
“I was delighted to share HPU’s approach to developing hard and soft skills through professional certificates and hands-on projects,” said Hassna. “It is crucial to equip students with the necessary skills to succeed in the workplace and contribute to the growth of Hawaiʻi's economy."
As Program Chair of Business Analytics and Information Security and the university Faculty Senate and Assembly Chair, Hassna is dedicated to developing programs and curriculums that prioritize both hard and soft skills development and addresses the needs of Hawaiʻi's workforce.
HPU is a private, non-profit university located in Honolulu, Hawaiʻi, offering undergraduate and graduate degree programs in various fields. The University is committed to providing students with a diverse and inclusive learning environment and equipping them with the necessary skills to succeed in their careers.
Hassna hopes that his presentation will inspire other organizations to prioritize both hard and soft skills development and incorporate them into their training programs, contributing to the growth of the Hawaiʻi workforce and positioning Hawaiʻi as a leader in the technology industry. He looks forward to continuing the conversation with the CIO Council of Hawaiʻi on this critical topic.
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