Paul Brown Retrains for Workforce

HONOLULU (KHNL) -- Recently laid-off employees do have options. Places use federal grants for vocational retraining.

With the recent announcement of the closure of Molokai Ranch, the more than 100 employees may need retraining for future careers.

Maria Nelson is the Principal of the Paul Brown Institute in Honolulu.

"It doesn't have to be a hopeless situation for those that are going to lose their positions," she said.

That's because there are federally funded programs to help laid off employees get re-trained and back in the workforce.

"The grants pay their tuition and their funding, the cost of their books, and the cost of going to school in general to retrain," Nelson says, "It's to help people who've been displaced from jobs, like Dole Cannery, perhaps Weyerhaeuser, maybe even Aloha Airlines, who knows."

Nelson says it's not too late to change careers. It takes from four months to one year to train at the paul brown institute to be a hair stylist, message therapist, nail technician, and makeup artist.

"They learn hot stone massage, and lomi lomi, Shiatsu, all kinds of specialty treatments," she said.

Hawaii is a hot spa destination. A recent job demand survey shows by 2010, the beauty and spa industry will grow 24%.

"There are at least 2,000 job openings immediately in the spa and salon industry," Nelson said. The demand for beauty professionals has never been higher.