Thirty Meter Telescope

Astronomy's next generation observatory.

News Center


Thirty Meter Telescope: Project Update



TMT has made a commitment to develop a comprehensive community benefit package as part of its pledge to be an engaged corporate entity on Hawaii Island.

One of the key components of this community benefit package is the development of scholarships and other educational opportunities for Hawaii Island students and teachers, particularly in the core areas of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) across grades K-12, secondary and post-secondary education.
The Hawaii Island New Knowledge (THINK) Fund is the first of many steps in the journey toward educational excellence.
TMT will give $1 million per year to the THINK Fund over the life of the TMT lease on Mauna Kea. Funding will commence with the issuance of the project's Conservation District Use Permit by Hawaii's Department of Land and Natural Resources in conjunction with the start of construction.
THINK's vision is to raise STEM education as a core community value. In doing so, THINK initiatives will pave the way for the academic, physical, emotional and social success for Hawaii Island students so they may become self-directed, lifelong learners who think critically and creatively, and function as responsible productive members of society. 
Engineering students engage with TMT architects
THINK projections include direct, long-term positive impacts on:
·         Graduation rates
·         College acceptance rates
·         Scholarship award rates, secondary and post
·         Academic achievement, including GPA
·         High School completion
·         Teacher instruction, including curriculum that increases relevance and rigor
THINK will be administered by community volunteers on a yet-to-be-formed Board of Advisors from Hawaii Island. Collectively, the advisors will be representative of the various segments of the Hawaii Island community with the goal of achieving geographical, gender, private/public and experiential diversity.
Generating Much-needed Jobs
Construction is anticipated to begin in late 2011 and will take approximately eight to ten years to complete. Plans also include building the TMT headquarters within the UH Hilo Science and Technology Park.
Building the Thirty Meter Telescope will create more than 300 local construction industry jobs. During certain phases of construction, crews of more than 100 would be working at the site. Construction will be scheduled six days a week. Of course, winter weather conditions at the TMT Observatory site could interrupt construction at times.
Once the telescope is built, the operations of the observatory will require approximately 120 full-time jobs and TMT is committed to hiring as many members of the local workforce as possible. The project team has been meeting with groups on Hawaii Island to plan for a Workforce Pipeline Program to achieve this goal.
It is anticipated that a collaborative partnership with the Department of Education, independent and charter schools, Hawaii Community College and UH Hilo would initiate development of education and training programs that will get our local workforce ready for these jobs in 2018.
Need A Group Presentation?
Contact Laura Aquino (326-7820 if your group or community organization would like to schedule a presentation by Sandra Dawson, Site Manager, Thirty Meter Telescope to discuss the progress of TMT, project updates and upcoming milestones.