Former Aloha employees enhance skill sets with KCC training

PUHI — As the seven graduates of the Commercial Driver’s License Type A program filled out their evaluation forms Friday night, there was a feeling of deja vu.

The graduation marked the last CDL class for a while, and among the seven graduates were five former Aloha Airlines employees who were left jobless when the interisland carrier ceased operations in April.

Steven Carvalho, the course instructor, said five of the seven were upgrading their licenses from Type B to the unrestricted Type A to better their chances for employment.

Former Aloha worker Don Almodova was offered a job with Aloha’s cargo division while he was still in the class. Though a step-down from his former position, Almodova said he accepted the job and is currently working.

Leroy Bethel, another former Aloha Airlines employee, said he, too, was offered a job while enrolled in the class.

“I start next Thursday with Hawaiian Air,” Bethel said.

In addition to Almodova and Bethel, the other CDL graduates include Erik Danner, Anthony Aguiar, Jason Furutani, Rex Ancheta and Curtis Palama.

Dave Longmore of the Workforce Development program, which coordinated the training, said they’ll have to wait for more funding before offering another CDL class.

“We have to make sure the demand for a program is there. We currently have a certified nurses aide program with about 12 or 13 students which will be finalizing later this month,” Longmore said. “There’s a lot of demand for nurses aides.”

Dawn Wooten, project coordinator for the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development, said a Department of Labor grant funded a facilities maintenance class.

“They learned a lot about electricity,” Wooten said. “But in addition to electricity, the students worked on mock walls, electrical wiring, plumbing, drywall, door locks and learning how to paint.”

The facilities class was a great opportunity for the students to gain a job within their current employer for a substantial pay increase, she said.

Another project is in the works with the Pacific Missile Range Facility.

• Dennis Fujimoto can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 253) or dfujimoto@kauaipubco.com

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