Categorized | Education

Waimea authors offer online course, scholarship


So you might be wondering, 72,000 hours of what? Work. Working an average of 1,800 hours a year, most Americans spend over one third of their waking lives between the ages of 22 and 62 working. That’s at least 72,000 hours!

This spring, Hawaii students will leave high school and begin a new phase of life, either entering the workforce or continuing their education at college or trade school.

How they spend those inevitable 72,000 hours is up to them. If they have a plan, they may spend their work hours doing something that is a really great fit for them, something they have trained for, and something that they truly enjoy. But without a plan, they may become part of the 50 percent of working Americans who are unsatisfied with their careers.

Most grads may think they have a solid plan for what they are doing next. However, national statistics tell a different story.

“Up to 80 percent of college-bound students are undecided about their major and more than half of college students change majors two or three times before graduation,” said Jim Hood, co-author of Test Drive Your Future: Your Step by Step Guide to Choosing the Perfect Career.

“Because of this indecision, only 36 percent of students graduate in four years, while 40 percent still don’t have a degree after their sixth year, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. With the rising cost of a college education, we can’t afford to go to college without a plan, especially considering the number of college graduates — up to 77 percent in some fields — who aren’t even working in their field of major within four years of graduation.”

U.S. student loan debt recently topped $1 trillion (the average bachelor’s degree recipient carries $25,000 of debt) and the asking price for four years in-state public college averages almost $76,000 — and it’s more than twice that for private colleges.

Waimea authors Jim and Beth Hood want to see more high school graduates with a plan to help shape their future, not only so they can save on their education costs, but so they can live their lives with purpose.

“We designed the Test Drive Experience to help students choose a college and career path,” Beth Hood said. “And we help them do it with confidence, clarity, and purpose. They end up with a solid plan, which helps them feel good about their future.”

Free access to the Hoods’ Test Drive Experience includes a four week, interactive, online course, which is part of the 72,000 Hours Project: Hawaii. The Test Drive Experience is based on the Hoods’ book: Test Drive Your Future.

The online course includes 10 core lessons, based on the step-by-step career choice process from the book, and an interactive forum where participants will be able to ask questions, post comments, or host discussions, among other features.

All graduating Hawaii high school seniors and their parents are eligible to participate. Separate versions of the course will be offered for parents and students, allowing each to have the most relevant experience possible.

“We have wanted to offer a graduation gift like this to Hawaii students for several years, but the costs associated with printing and shipping physical books on such a large scale, especially here in Hawaii, made it impossible,” said Jim Hood.

But a recent update to the design software they use in their web design company, Websites With Aloha, gave them the tools they needed to convert their paper book into an easy-to-use, online, interactive learning environment.

Students who participate in the Test Drive Experience will be given a chance to win a $1,000 scholarship (to be applied toward college or trade school tuition) as part of the 72,000 Hours/Test Drive Experience Scholarship Essay Contest. Detailed information about the scholarship will be released during the course.

Test Drive Experience applications will be accepted until May 31, 2012 and the course is scheduled to begin online June 4.

The last module of the course will be delivered June 28, but participants will have access to the online training center until Sept. 1, allowing them the entire summer to complete the material and related activities.

Free enrollment is limited to 2012 Hawaii high school graduates and one parent (both parents can use one account) and online registration on the website is required. Email, fax, telephone or postal mail requests will not be accepted.

High school or college students (or parents) who are not 2012 high school graduates, but wish to participate in the course, are welcome to sign up for the free “Career Choice Crash Course” and can purchase access to the Test Drive Experience at a discounted price.

All proceeds from sales of the course during May and June will be used to fund the scholarship program.

Businesses, organizations, or individuals interested in becoming a partner, presenting sponsor, or contributing toward the scholarship fund may contact Jim Hood at

For more information, and to register for the Test Drive Experience, visit:

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