Job fair looks to connect Leeward residents with positions close to home

Job fair targets leeward residents with careers close to home
Published: Jun. 24, 2017 at 7:54 PM HST|Updated: Jun. 24, 2017 at 11:20 PM HST
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KAPOLEI, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - As Hawaii's cost of living continues to rise and gridlock on roads grows, a Leeward Oahu job fair targeted residents close to home in hopes of providing career opportunities to residents without a far commute.

"We made sure that the jobs that they're hiring for are only from Waipahu all the way to Waianae," City Council member Kymberly Pine said. "We really want to connect people with leeward jobs, make it easier to find a job close to home."

More than 70 businesses offered positions based on the leeward side at the "Hire Leeward"  job fair Saturday. Organizers estimated 1,000 job openings were up for grabs.

Applicants were enticed by the possibility of working close to home.

"They don't have to make that big commute all the way from here to town. You're looking at losing one and a-half hours each way so three hours of your life you're practically spending in traffic," said Embassy Suites general manager Reid Yoshida.

Robin Camara was one of about 2,000 job seekers who took resumes and high hopes to the fair held at UH West Oahu.

Camara hopes to work at the soon-to-open Embassy Suites in Kapolei in a front desk position.

"If not that, I can just go for whatever is open right now," he said.

Councilwoman Pine helped put the event together, along with Ko Olina and the Kapolei Chamber of Commerce.

"I think you'll find some living-wage jobs. Some people are looking for second sources of income. We have employers looking to meet that need as well," said Kiran Polk, executive director of the Kapolei Chamber of Commerce.

The wide array of opportunities amazed applicants like Makakilo resident Jewel Atherall, who was all smiles as she went booth to booth.

"It's so amazing they have this place and there's so many positions. I know people who are really looking for a job. It's difficult having to catch the bus to the other side of the island," she said.

This is the fifth year for the Hire Leeward job fair. It comes on the heels of a report that pegs Hawaii as the toughest state to make a living.

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