Amping up job training to spur Kauai’s recovery

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On Kauai, when people apply for unemployment benefits, they’re also referred to the Workwise Kauai office for employment help. It’s mandatory for anyone receiving unemployment to join the job search system by registering on the Hire Net Hawaii Web site. (The benefit for job hunters is that employers can also register, which gives them the opportunity to keep tabs on active resumes of those seeking employment.)

     When Crane Eye Care had an opening for a part-time
     clerk, Jodee Crane got 100 resumes.
     Photo: Kika Witte

“We aren’t hiring right now, we’re fully staffed, but we saw this program and saw it as an opportunity,” says Jodee Crane at Crane Eye Care. “It helps the community, but also, there’s always turnover so it helps us to have someone we’ve already worked with. Even if it’s three months down the road, we can call them up and we have this great candidate.”

The program benefits job hunters by giving them a “foot in the door,” notes one state worker, enabling them to test a different industry to see if it’s right for them.

That’s how Spencer was linked to VIP and landed an internship with Leadership Kauai. Almost exactly three months after being laid off, she walked into her new office.

“I’m just excited to be doing something after not doing something for several months,” she said. “It’s a great feeling to know I’m going to be productive.”

The state intends to keep the program in place through December and then reassess its progress. It’s modeled after a successful program that saved the state of Georgia almost 60 percent on its unemployment insurance costs, says Grier. “Certainly the idea is to reduce the numbers on unemployment. The best scenario is that after the tryout period, the employee will start a new job.”

Grier feels the program is already working as a number of placements had been made just in the first few weeks.

“It’s looking like a real good idea to help both businesses and job seekers,” he says. “It’s kind of a ‘try me’ program that gives the job seeker a chance to experiment with a job occupation they wouldn’t have tried. It’s for anyone who wants an opportunity – with the state providing a cushion.”

 

Volunteer Internship Program

For more information on the VIP internship and training program, go to
hawaii.gov/labor/VIP

 

Unemployment

Small improvement

Unemployed

April ‘09

March ‘10

April ‘10

in Hawaii

43,400

43,750

42,550

 

Seasonally adjusted unemployment rate

 State

 6.8%

 6.9%

 6.7%

 U.S.

 8.9%

 9.7%

 9.9%

 

Not seasonally adjusted unemployment rate

State

6.5%

6.8%

6.3%

Oahu

5.5%

5.6%

5.2%

Hawaii County

9.2%

10.1%

9.5%

Kauai

9.3%

9.2%

8.9%

Maui

8.1%

8.8%

8.2%

Molokai

13.1%

12.5%

11.8%

Lanai

8.3%

6.6%

6.0%

U.S.

8.6%

10.2%

9.5%


Source: State Department of Labor and Industrial Relations

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