The Hawaiian government funds six innovative programs designed to develop employees of small businesses.

As the United States continues to recover from a recession that had a devastating effect on employment, one state is proactively investing in its workforce in an unlikely place: small business. In July 2014, the Hawaii State Department of Labor and Industrial Relations (DLIR) awarded nearly $660,000 to six organizations in an effort to strengthen local businesses through training.

"Too often small businesses lack the ability to provide training for their workers, which impedes their ability to both remain viable and grow," says Dwight Takamine, director of the DLIR. "These grants will assist small businesses and their workers by providing training that would otherwise not be available." Small businesses account for 95 percent of the businesses that contribute to the Hawaiian economy. As a result, the training that awardees are planning to deliver is expected to have a lasting impact.


There are several innovative programs on deck. In one, the Japan Hawaii Travel Association will partner with LearningBiz, a Hawaiian corporate training provider, to develop training to help employees address the service needs of Japanese tourists. Meanwhile, the Hawaii Island Workforce and Economic Development Ohana will use the funds to develop training that helps small businesses gain visibility on the Internet. Finally, the Service Corps of Retired Executives Association plans to provide small businesses with a comprehensive business management training program.

This funding is part of a larger initiative called the Employment and Training Fund. Established in 1991, the fund supports programs that are developed jointly by Hawaiian businesses and government agencies to help individual employees succeed.