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As COVID forced businesses online, governor works to advance Hawaii’s digital economy

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Published: Jun. 23, 2021 at 9:11 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - As the pandemic forced Hawaii to adopt a digital economy much faster than expected, Gov. David Ige admitted Wednesday that the transition wasn’t perfect.

During an event focused on investing in the state’s digital economy, Ige cited the Safe Travels program as a successful program, which allowed millions of travelers to avoid quarantine by uploading a negative COVID test.

“I’m really proud of the state’s response to COVID. It wasn’t perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but we embraced digital solutions must faster than we’ve ever seen here in the state of Hawaii,” Ige said.

The governor added that the backlog in unemployment benefits also forced the labor department to embrace new technologies to improve services.

“We need to accelerate the pace of adoption because we’ve seen over and over again that if you’re not in the digital economy, then you’re really not in an economy,” he said.

In the event sponsored by TRUE Initiative, the governor and business leaders worked to outline a pathway to a digital economy — which included supporting local organizations in adopting technology and helping Hawaii’s workforce to meet the growing demand for digital services.

To further transition into a digital economy, Ige said the state is upgrading many of its computer systems at the education and transportation departments.

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