HIEDB Worked With 35 Host Companies To Hire COVID Displaced Workers

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HIEDB Initiates Aloha Connects Innovation Initiative On Hawaii Island
Worked With 35 Host Companies To Hire COVID Displaced Workers

The Aloha Connects Innovation, a new initiative led by the Economic Alliance of Hawaii (EDAH) and the Hawaii Island Economic Development Board (HIEDB), to nurture and grow knowledge-based work opportunities in Hawaii and fuel emerging industries and innovation sectors was launched after the onset of the COVID pandemic. The Hawaii Island Economic Development Board in partnership with the Economic Alliance of Hawaii through the Aloha Connects Innovation initiative worked with 35 Hawaii Island host companies resulting in 91 individuals hired. 625 interns were placed with host companies statewide.

The Aloha Connects Initiative program recruited and secured companies to serve as hosts for employees displaced by COVID. These displaced employees included those whose hours had been cut, were furloughed or terminated due to the pandemic. In addition to securing positions and earnings in the last quarter of 2020, participants acquired new skills and training to assist in finding work in the future. Many of the interns also had the option to secure medical and dental coverage with insurance premiums paid through the program. The host companies were able to hire employees with all wages and related taxes paid by the CARES Act funding and administered through the State Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism.

“Understanding that we need to address the major economic downturn, massive unemployment, and the high rate of business failures resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, HIEDB was honored to work with EDAH to put our Hawaii Island community back to work,” stated HIEDB Executive Director Jacqui Hoover. “The individuals hired proved their meddle and many will stay on in permanent positions after the CARES Act funding lapses. Although the 2020 program is winding down, HIEDB is working with the Economic Development Alliance of Hawaii and others in hopes of securing additional funds to re-launch Aloha Connects Innovation in 2021.”

The Hawaii Island Economic Development Board worked and collaborated with the Hawaii Leeward Planning Conference in implementing the Aloha Connects Innovation and securing host companies on Hawaii Island. Hawaii Island host companies include Ahualoa Family Farms, Ali’i Adventures, Ben-Joseph Farms, Big Island Box, Big Island Pulse, Brine LLC, Conscious Communities, CrossFit All Star, Eye Care Hawaii, Friends of the Future–Solar Matters, H&P, Hawaii Forest Industry Association, Hawaii Institute of Pacific Agriculture, Hawaii Wildlife Center, Holo Pono Designs, HPM Building Supply, Island Electric, Kamuela Hardwoods, Kukaiau Ranch, La Buena Vida Hawaii, Mahealani M. Winters, Makana Esthetics Wellness Academy, No Worries Property Maintenance, Ocean Era, Parker Ranch, Photo Guardians, Rider Levett Bucknall, Robert E. Dakujaku General Contracting, Starseed Ranch, The Success Factory, Touching the Earth, Ultimate Innovations, Wai Kai, Wright Family Farms and Yoga Centered.

Hawaii Island Economic Development Board Ongoing Initiatives
HIEDB’s island-wide initiatives focus on place, people and products—Place (infrastructure planning and natural resources including environment, agriculture, energy and historic sites), People (education, community engagement, workforce development, innovation and community health) and Products (agriculture, innovation industries and tourism).

Place-based strategic focus areas include Daniel K. Inouye Highway (Saddle Road) Extension, Invasive Species Control, Food Security, and Energy Self Sufficiency.

People initiatives include Huiana Internship Mentor Program, Robotics, Kama’aina Come Home, University of Hawaii Hilo and Hawaii Community College—Palamanui campuses, Visitor Industry, Astronomy (Thirty Meter Telescope), Military (Pohakuloa Training Area) and Promotion of Life Sciences (PBARC and NELHA).

Product initiatives include Recycling, Buy Local Campaign, Ag-Tourism and an Innovation Sector Database.

The Hawaii Island Economic Development Board is currently working on developing and publishing a five year Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) for Hawaii Island and contributing to the CEDS for the State of Hawaii. Updated every five years, HIEDB has developed Hawaii Island’s CEDS program since 2005.

The Hawaii Island Economic Development Board was formed in a time of economic turmoil in late 1983 during the County of Hawaii administration of Mayor Herbert Matayoshi. Stephen K. Yamashiro was the Council Chair at the time. During the early formation months of its inception HIEDB pursued a grant from the State Department of Planning and Economic Development to assist the County of Hawaii and the local Chambers in building a support mechanism based on surveying existing business to more clearly define the existing business climate as an important component of any business retention and attraction program. HIEDB has grown from these early years to partner today with many Federal, State, County and private enterprises to promote sustainable growth and development of Hawaii Island.

For more information call HIEDB at 808-935-2180.


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