Many employers looking to add to workforce

LIHUE — When it comes to interviewing for a job, a smile goes a long way.

“People judge you by your smile, and when you’re in the service industry, that’s important,” said Jessica Brown, kitchen manager at Papaya’s Natural Foods.

Deborah Crippen, director of human resources at Lawai Beach Resort, said she looks for someone who has a great attitude.

“I can teach you how to clean up a room or how to be a security guard,” she said. “I can’t teach you how to be a good person.”

Brown and Crippen were at a job fair Tuesday at the One Stop Center at Kauai Community College in hopes of adding to their workforces.

The fair included more than 50 employers, like ABC Stores, Bank of Hawaii, Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort, and Spa, Genki Sushi, and Kauai Coffee.

About 100 Kauai residents, some dressed in their best and others in casual attire, showed up to see what jobs were available. It was mostly a younger generation seeking work, with some middle-aged folks there, too. They visited tables where potential employers asked questions and offered applications.

Breean Cayaban, a student at Waimea High School seeking a summer job, said positions at Papaya’s and the Marriott looked promising.

Cayaban said having employers in one space was helpful because if one place didn’t work out, she had others to check out.

“I’m looking for any part-time job,” she said. “I was trying to to find something in the medical field, which is what I want to go into, but they’re looking for full-time work.”

Gabby Wilson, a KCC student, said she is interested in applying to St. Regis Princeville Resort and the Marriott.

“Hospitality is such a great job,” she said.

According to the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations, the unemployment rate on Kauai is falling. For February, the most recent data available, the jobless rate was 2.9 percent, down slightly from February 2016.

That gives Kauai County the second-lowest unemployment rate in the state, behind City and County of Honolulu, which had recorded a 2.5 percent unemployment rate.

The most popular jobs on Kauai were in trade, transportation and utilities and hospitality, according to DLIR.

Papaya’s moved into a bigger location from Kauai Village to Waipouli Plaza, and its management is looking for produce managers, cashiers, kitchen staff and inventory takers, Brown said.

Brown said the job fair is a great way to find people who don’t naturally come in the store, she said.

“We may be a small store, but there’s a lot of intricate parts to make it all work,” she said.

Papaya’s has about 40 employees. It is looking to hire people with no experience all the way to management duties, said Ka’iulani Kauahi, manager.

“We’re offering one-day, three-day and full-time jobs,” she said. “We can work around people’s schedules to make it work for them.”

When it comes to looking for a job, Kuahai’s tip is to be direct with the employer.

“Know what you want and tell us. Be specific about what hours you want and what you’re expecting,” she said. “Don’t keep us on the line.”

Peggy Lake, who works in the Office of Continuing Education of KCC, helped organize the fair. She likes bringing employers and employees together.

“The employers are so happy to see people face-to-face,” she said. “Everything is online, so people don’t go door-to-door anymore.”


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