Perusing the prospects

A new ocean-front boutique hotel scheduled to open in November joins the marketplace of employers seeking to fill vacancies within their workforce.

“It’s so new, we still don’t have a name, yet,” said Chris Steuri, general manager for CTF Hawai‘i Hotel Partners, who was on-hand yesterday at the WorkWise! Job Fair.

CTF Hawai‘i joined the Hawai‘i Superferry in trying to recruit a workforce before their doors open on Kaua‘i later this year.

They were part of the 68 vendors to attend an annual event labeled “the biggest job fair in the year.”

“This is definitely bigger than last year’s event,” said Wayne Mukai of Workforce Development, one of the fair’s key coordinators.

“We had to add extra tables,” he said. “There could have been more (vendors), but we had to turn away several people because there just wasn’t any more room.”

The job fair transformed the food court area, as each vendor used a variety of marketing techniques to try and entice prospective employees.

“We’re always looking for good employees,” said Mary Lou Mendes of Bodacious, a retail complex located in the Coconut Marketplace. “We hire people from (ages) 16 to 71.”

…We just opened our newest store so we can always add to our staff.”

Mendes, who started out with a single shop in the Coconut Marketplace 12 years ago, recently opened her seventh business — The Plantation Store — in the former Yasuda Store location in Kapa‘a.

Accompanying Mendes at her table were longtime acquaintances and employees Howard Weatherbee, Anela Patterson and Beverly Boiser who have seen the Bodacious evolve over the past 12 years.

Searching for prospective employers, Chancellor Peggy Cha and her staff from the Kaua‘i Community College rebounded from the school’s Friday night commencement ceremonies to be on-site for the job fair.

One of the KCC’s additions to the event was the “Ultimate Job Makeover.”

Tram Meadows explained the program’s goal is to get people better prepared for a career in the visitor industry.

“This is the brainchild of Jo Tano of the Sheraton Kaua‘i’s human resources department,” Meadows said. “He had a vision and a dream of forming a collaborative effort of the South Shore community to come up with a product that would fit in the industry.”

Candidates selected by the partnership that includes the Grand Hyatt Kaua‘i Resort & Spa, the Sheraton Kaua‘i, the KCC, the Paxen Group and WorkWise!, will get to participate in an immersion program to improve visitor industry job skils.

As potential employees scoured through the smorgasbord of opportunities that ranged from high tech fields to entry-level positions, Elli Gorman, Human Resources Manager for the Sheraton Kaua‘i, summed up the experience best: If we know what their employees’ plans are, we can probably find something that fits.


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