Bus tour eyes manufacturing

LIHUE — The Kauai Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with the Chamber of Commerce Hawaii and INNOVATE Hawaii, is hosting a bus tour of Kauai manufacturing facilities on Friday in conjunction with National Manufacturing Week.

It offers an insider’s look at how local manufacturers operate and highlights the importance of manufacturing to the community and local economy.

National Manufacturing Week is a statewide initiative with events on Kauai, Oahu, Hawaii Island and Maui.

“Building, maintaining and promoting Kauai’s manufacturing industry is a high priority,” said Mark Perriello, president of the Kauai Chamber of Commerce. “We’re excited to partner with the Chamber of Commerce Hawaii on this initiative for the second year in a row. Kauai greatly benefits from our manufacturing industry here, which provides local people with jobs and careers, and helps expand our growing reputation as a producer of high-quality products.”

There are more than 1,000 manufacturers in Hawaii with 71 percent of the state’s export share, providing more than 13,500 jobs with an average annual compensation of more than $42,800 per year or 15 percent more than other private non-farm jobs.

INNOVATE Hawaii Director Wayne Inouye said the growth of manufactured goods exports from Hawaii has more than doubled from 2009 to 2014.

“Last year’s manufacturing tours were very successful, which is why we are, again, partnering with the Chamber to host these tours for a second year in a row,” he said.

The National Manufacturing Day bus tour schedule on Friday will feature the following Kauai manufacturers: Monkey Pod Jam, Papalua Kitchen, Green Energy Hawaii, Kauai Coffee Company, Kauai Kookie Company and Koloa Rum.

As the exclusive affiliate in the state of Hawaii for the National Association of Manufacturers, the Chamber of Commerce Hawaii seeks to increase and diversify Hawaii’s manufacturing initiatives, said Sherry Menor-McNamara, Chamber president and CEO.

“The manufacturing industry is a vital component of Hawaii’s economy and continues to flourish, supporting nearly 13,500 jobs in Hawaii, with small businesses representing approximately 85.50 percent of all exporters in Hawaii,” she said.

Last year, the Chamber of Commerce Hawaii successfully lobbied for a $2 million manufacturing grant to fund manufacturers, which can be used for equipment, training, energy efficiency and the planning of a new facility.

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