Training begins for Gateway Project workers

PUHI – Mia Ako is looking for more than a few good men.

Actually, she is

looking for 40 people between the ages of 19 and 24 who are ready, willing and

able to begin training Monday, May 15, to participate in a project to beautify

roads leading to Lihu’e Airport.

The Gateway Project is finally about to

begin, with a notice to proceed to successful bidder Kaua’i Nursery &

Landscaping, Inc. expected out by Monday, June 5, said Ako, counselor and

recruiter with the federal Job Training Partnership Act (JTPA) program at

Kaua’i Community College.

The training and recruitment are ongoing, and

people between the eligible ages need only be “motivated and committed,” she

said.

Those who meet income criteria and possess the above-mentioned traits

are eligible for six weeks of unpaid classroom training free of charge, in

areas such as landscaping, irrigation systems, landscape maintenance, plant

propagation, and safe and correct use of power equipment necessary to carry out

the work of making the vehicular intersections near the airport befit the

nickname of Kaua’i as the garden isle.

The training will also include work

at KCC’s farm, in planting and propagation.

Those who successfully complete

the training will be offered work with KNL, which will need workers as early as

July, she said.

Young people will be offered 18 weeks of paid work on the

Gateway Project through KNL. The entire project is expected to take 18 months

to finish.

Ako said Jerry Nishek of KNL has indicated to her that some of

the participants in this project may be offered further employment by KNL after

the 18 weeks.

The project is a unique federal-state-private partnership,

with funds coming from the U.S. Department of Labor (job training) and U.S.

Department of Transportation (Urban Youth Corps).

Ako has five students in

the training now, and is looking for 40 more.

Once the major work is done,

Eddie Sarita, the county’s Convention Hall manager and Ho’olokahi volunteer

program coordinator, will be responsible for organizing hundreds of volunteer

groups to maintain the Gateway Project, Ako explained.

The Gateway

beautification project covers Ahukini Road from the airport to its intersection

with Kuhio Highway, plus Kapule Highway from its beginning at Rice Street to

its end at Kuhio Highway in Hanama’ulu.

The entire Gateway Project has a

budget of $7 million, and part of the project includes planting flowering trees

and tropical plants along these state roads to give visitors a positive

impression of the island as they arrive and leave.

For more information,

call Ako, 245-8354, or JTPA, 245-8280.

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