Maui News

Building industry welcomes new class of journeymen

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HCATF Apprentice Relle Sato poses with HRCC’s Ron Taketa and other female apprentices at the International Training Center in Las Vegas. In August 2022, several female apprentices attended the UBC’s Sisters in the Brotherhood (SIB) annual conference in Las Vegas. The theme, “Seize the Opportunity,” highlighted the resilience of tradeswomen who carved a path for themselves in a male-dominated industry.

More than 180 men and women celebrated becoming professional carpenters also known as journeymen. The group successfully completed the challenging apprenticeship program and were honored today at the Hawaiʻi Carpenters Apprenticeship & Training Fund Journeymen Recognition Ceremony.

Organizes say the occasion marked a significant moment for the building industry in ensuring a strong pipeline to a qualified workforce. The group consists of 183 new journeymen – 160 carpenters, 21 drywall workers, and one millwright.

“Even with top-tier programs and courses such as these, the best training will be for nothing if we do not have a steady stream of qualified apprentices to replenish our ranks and fill steel-toed boots,” said Edmund Aczon, executive director, Hawaiʻi Carpenters Apprenticeship & Training Fund.

HCATF Apprentice Relle Sato onsite at HCATF’s stage-building volunteer project at the Honolulu Zoo. *HCATF apprentices volunteered at The Honolulu Zoo over the course of several weekends in 2020 to build an outdoor stage in an effort to provide space for community events. The stage serves as a platform for lecture series, events, and other innovative activities aimed at attracting diverse audiences to the facility.

HCATF is a partnership between the Hawaiʻi Regional Council of Carpenters, the General Contractors Labor Association, the Building Industry Labor Association, the Wall and Ceiling Industry Association of Hawaiʻi, the state and federal government, and the University of Hawaiʻi. Together, these organizations provide the funding, guidance, training, and industry insight to ensure apprenticeship success.

“It is our responsibility to recruit and retain the most qualified and motivated candidates to join our program. I believe identifying and encouraging young people who are in middle or high school is the key to strengthening our training and filling our workforce,” said Aczon.

Relle Sato is among the class of new journeymen taking the skills learned into a new career path.


“The most rewarding aspect of the program was looking at a dirt field turn into a huge multi-family complex and knowing that I was a part of the process of erecting homes for families to live in,” said Sato. “I plan to take what I’ve learned and continue building homes. I will eventually build my own home, and one day when I have kids, teach them what I do for a living.”

Aczon said, “We are extremely proud of these new journeymen and trust that they will lead the way forward in our trades.” 

HCATF has also partnered with the Hawaiʻi State Department of Education to create trades pathways for high school students, the University of Hawaiʻi Community Colleges, and other workforce development organizations. To learn more about HCATF visit


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