LIHU‘E — A new county initiative, Ho‘ohana Kaua‘i, is a one-stop shop for job-seekers and hiring managers.
It seeks to boost employment at a time when many businesses are struggling to fill positions in the wake of the pandemic.
Ho‘ohana Kaua‘i will accomplish its mission by offering localized services tailored to the island’s needs, accord to county Workforce Specialist Daniel Fort.
“Formerly, we were working with the state under a program called WIOA: the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act,” Fort said. “That kind of helped the people that we want to help, but it was a little limited, with very strict guidelines on how to get into it. So the county thought we could service the Hawai‘i community better if we had direct services for job-seekers and employers.”
Now, through Ho‘ohana Kaua‘i, prospective workers can meet with an appropriate business after one consultation. This is done by minimizing the use of online job boards, like HireNet Hawai‘i, and creating a centralized, in-office database, according to Fort.
“Our goal is to cut out that little middleman as much as we can, if we can get the employers to contact us directly: ‘Hi, my name is so-and-so. I have this restaurant … and I need five employees as soon as possible,’” he said in example.
Ho‘ohana Kaua‘i would then fast-track a qualified job-seeker, such as a waiter, to that restaurant. The process takes a single appointment rather than days of combing the internet for job opportunities.
“Before, you would have to go online, you’d have to create an account and you’d have to go search for them,” Fort said. “This gets you today. Let’s contact (the restaurant) today, because they’re looking for three waiters, a busser and a dishwasher. I have the name of the person hiring. Her name is Jen. Let’s give Jen a call right now.”
Ho‘ohana Kaua‘i is located in the county Hale Kokua building, home of the American Job Center.
Those interested in booking an appointment or providing business information should contact Fort, firstname.lastname@example.org and 808-241-4948, or Michelle Lopes, email@example.com and 808-241-4192.
Individuals in need of assistance, such as an interpreter, assistive-listening device or an alternate format of materials, are instructed to contact Lopes at least one week prior to their intended appointment.
“I’ll sit down with you, Michelle will sit down with you, and we will do all we can to find you a job that day,” Fort said. “We want to give people jobs, and we want our businesses that have signs up all over the place saying ‘Help Wanted’ — we can get some of the signs down and match people up and get them together.”
Scott Yunker, general assignment reporter, can be reached at 245-0437 or firstname.lastname@example.org.