Nonprofit launches one-stop shop for job prep – on wheels

Nonprofit launches one-stop shop for job prep – on wheels
(Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)

KAKAAKO (HawaiiNewsNow) - A new job training center on wheels is making stops across Oahu, connecting people with work without people having to travel far to get to them.

"We'll provide everything they need," said November Morris, who helps run the Institute for Human Services' mobile center. "We'll get them work-ready, but they have to meet us halfway."

On Thursday morning, the van is headed to the Feeding Hawaii Together food bank in Kakaako.

Morris says she's been scouting locations islandwide to find people in need of work.  The Kakaako food bank is a prime spot because hundreds of people visit it weekly for groceries.

It only takes a few minutes to set up the Hele to Work Employment Center at the food bank. Before long, people are seated with counselors and getting assistance.

The center's workers help anyone in need of a job, linking them to positions in restaurants, the hotel industry and administrative work.

People serious about getting a job must attend two classes to brush up on their interview skills. In exchange, the program helps with transportation, clothes, haircuts, even child care.

Among those getting helped at Feeding Hawaii Together on Thursday is Anna Osio, who says she comes to the food bank a couple of times a months. She's living in a homeless shelter, and is working part-time at the Hawaii Convention Center.

Osio said she sought out help from the IHS mobile center because she wants to find more stability in her life.

"I want to be able to plan for the future," she said. "And the jobs I work there's no future in them."

Morris said it's clear that Osio and others like her want to improve their situations. They run into barriers, though, when they don't know where to start.

"She's worked in very specific industries most of her life, but she wants to learn new things and that's great," Morris said.

The mobile program isn't only beneficial to job seekers. It's a good deal for employers.

Morris said the center runs its own background checks and drug testing.

She added, "Whoever you hire we're going to support them for three months with counseling and everything they need to keep that job."

IHS sends its mobile job training center to different locations three times a week.

For a list of locations, click here or call 447-2844.

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