When Opportunities Knock
Job fair lets community know what is available now.
By Brandon Roberts
It was a fair weekend for the Friendly Isle, with the senior and job fairs in town. The fairs brought a variety of characters with it; including county council members, the mayor, and multiple businesses and service providers.
Spurred by the closure of Molokai Ranch, a job fair held Saturday at the Kulana `Oiwi Halau presented over 20 tables; ranging from job application and unemployment assistance, to ILWU union representatives, as well as various island and off-island employers.
“Before we focus on outside businesses, we need to expand the services to business already on Molokai in order to meet today’s needs.” Councilman Danny Mateo said in regards to the urgency facing the island. “The county is ready to move.”
“We must partner training with economic development,” said Councilwoman Gladys Baisa. “What is job-training without the jobs?”
The State is currently trying to fill over 500 jobs, including Kalaupapa, and has an easy online application program. A prospective employee can fill out one application for all positions, which can go into a database for state and federal opportunities anywhere in the United States.
Sybil Lopez, with Maui Community College, emphasized training and placement. She said MCC has teamed up with the University of Hawaii to offer a stipend where unemployed workers can go back to school and receive part-time pay. Lopez said there is a network available to find work for someone after their training.
“Let Molokai control its destiny,” said Mayor Charmaine Tavares. However, she said that government should lead the employment discussion. “So far things have been reactionary; the job fair is proactive and immediate. No growth is not a choice, no jobs are not a choice, leaving the island is not a choice.”