County’s Ho‘ohana Kaua‘i event continues today in Lihu‘e

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Desiree Tanicala of the Ross Dress for Less Waipouli store and Sheila Balisacan of the Kukui Grove Center store try to convince an employment opportunity seeker about “working where you shop” Thursday during the Ho‘ohana Kaua‘i Job Fair at the Lihu‘e Civic Center breezeway.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Job seeker Leisa Eto speaks with Ron Valencia and Carol Furtado of King Auto Center Thursday during the Ho‘ohana Kaua‘i Job Fair in the Lihu‘e Civic Center breezeway.

LIHU‘E — Leisa Eto was among the sparse crowd of people browsing for opportunities Thursday when the County of Kaua‘i Ho‘ohana Kaua‘i program opened the Lihu‘e Civic Center breezeway to about a dozen employers working to fill positions.

“Ideally, I’d like something in accounting with the state or the county,” Eto said. “I was working before the COVID-19 hit. This pandemic had a big impact on me. I had to leave my work to care for my parents. But it was also a blessing because I have the opportunity to explore new opportunities.”

She paused at the table manned by the Koloa Landing Resort that has a page of positions available.

“We’re already busy,” said Aimee Lorenzo of the Koloa Landing Resort. “But we need to add to our family for when it gets busier. There should be more people here looking for opportunities.”

A kupuna stopped by the table being hosted by ‘Ohana Pacific Health that in addition to employment opportunities for its four sites on Kaua‘i also had information on tuition reimbursement for people interested in completing the certified nursing assistant course of study at Kaua‘i Community College.

“We’re not just hiring,” said Kaulana Mossman, director of the Kaua‘i Adult Day Health located on Kress Street in Lihu‘e. “We have a program where we offer to reimburse people training to fill one of our health-care positions. This is exciting because it was just published in the newspaper.”

The kupuna listened intently.

“I’m a kupuna,” she said. “Do you have something I can do? I live in Kapa‘a and used to work as a seamstress in Princeville. It involves spending the greater part of the day sitting. My unemployment benefits run out next week, and I need to find something, but I’m tired of getting to Princeville every day. I need to find something closer to home.”

Sheila Balisacan, manager of the Ross Dress for Less store at Kukui Grove Center, said for those who were unable to visit the job fair in person, open positions are listed at job.rosstores.com with a keyword search 17428000. The available positions are also linked to the Kukui Grove Center Job Center website and other professional websites.

The Ho‘ohana Kaua‘i job fair continues today from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Lihu‘e Civic Center breezeway, with an expected 15 to 20 businesses different than the Thursday lineup.

Job seekers should dress appropriately, have their updated resumes on hand, and be prepared to answer questions and make a great, in-person first impression to potential employers.

All participants must follow current COVID-19 safety procedures, including social distancing, wearing a face mask, sanitizing hands and minimizing physical contact.

More opportunities are available on Monday, Aug. 30, when Anaina Hou Community Park presents its Second annual North Shore Career Fair from 2 to 6 p.m. in the Porter Pavilion in Kilauea.

The purpose of this year’s Career Fair is to bring employers and job seekers together to further opportunities for local residents before unemployment and stimulus funds provided by the federal, state and county governments in response to COVID-19 are ended.

“This is a timely opportunity for job seekers, with many employers offering signing bonuses, training programs and incentives for signing,” said Jill Lowry, Anaina Hou Community Park executive director. “There is a great potential for both employers and prospective employees to come together, identify mutual benefits and achieve a perfect match that will work toward rebuilding and strengthening our amazingly resilient island.”

Lowry will also have several opportunities available from Anaina Hou Community Park as events and programming come back online as the COVID-19 pandemic loosens up.

A list of participating employers includes the Kaua‘i Fire Department, Papaya’s Natural Foods, Holo Holo Charters, Kilauea Market and Cafe, Whalers General Store, Jewel of Paradise, Yellowfish Trading Company, Kaua‘i Northshore Animal Clinic, Kaua‘i Army Recruiting Station, Island Ace Hardware, Kaua‘i Government Employees Federal Credit Union, Hanalei Center, Foodland Princeville and Hanalei Bay Resort.

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Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or dfujimoto@thegardenisland.com.

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