State Labor Grants Help Agencies Train Workers

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The Hawaii State Department of Labor and Industrial Relations today announced the award of six grants designed to strengthen local small businesses through training programs.

The grants will be used as seed money to develop new education and training curricula in economic sectors identified by the Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism, the county workforce investment boards, employer organizations, industry and trade associations, and labor organizations.

“Too often small businesses lack the ability to provide training for their workers, which impedes their ability to both remain viable and grow,” said DLlR Director Dwight Takamine. “These grants will assist small businesses and their workers by providing training that would otherwise not be available.”

The Legislature in 2011 authorized the department to assess employers through the Employment and Training Fund in 2011 and 2012 to cover interest payments.


In addition, legislation passed in 2013 enabled the DLlR to use monies collected ($800,000), but not used, to cover the cost of federal loans to pay unemployment insurance benefits. While $211,000 was paid in interest for federal loans in December 2010, the director was able to waive the assessment in 2012, which left $800,000 from the special assessment in 2011.

“Although small businesses are central to job creation, they often lack human resource staff to facilitate the upgrading of the business’s workforce skills,” said Workforce Development Division Administrator Elaine Young. “The grants target small businesses where there are critical skill shortages in high growth occupations and industries.”

Recipients are:


Retail Merchants of Hawaii ($125,000) – RHM will focus on 1) Talent Management (management/staff retention), and 2) Business Optimization (improvement of operations through development of business plans, proper training of employees to understand how to best provide service, focus of sales management and financial/pricing/loss prevention and risk management).

Japan Hawaii Travel Association ($112,500)
– JHTA will develop a five-component training curriculum that addresses service expectations of Japanese visitors. JHTA has contracted with LearningBiz to develop the curriculum and deliver the training statewide.

Native Hawaiian Hospitality Association ($125,000)
– NaHHA will deliver their community specific Ola Hawaii hospitality and leadership curriculum, which is culturally based, for communities that have training access challenges due to location or cost prohibitive barriers (South Shore Kauai, Kaneohe, Hana Maui and North Hawaii were initially identified).

Hawaii Island Workforce and Economic Development Ohana, Inc. ($117,502)
– HIWEDO will develop technical training modules for small businesses to learn how to gain more exposure on the internet.

Hawaii Tropical Fruit Growers ($70,886) – HTFG will develop a Master Food Preserver certificate pilot program that will teach participants to develop and safely preserve value-added products that use undersold and underutilized produce to increase capacity and income for small agribusinesses. The intent is the establishment of a program that can be offered statewide.

Service Corps of Retired Executives Association ($94,000)
– SCORE HAWAII will provide business owners, members of management and key personnel a comprehensive business training program that covers successfully leading and operating a business. The trainings and mentoring for both for-profit and non-profits will be led by both active and retired business executives as well as entrepreneurs.

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