Low unemployment has been great for workers but tough on employers who feel like they can’t find enough help. That’s where some of Hawaii’s nonprofit organizations come in.
PBN held a roundtable with the leaders of five local nonprofits whose missions include helping to put people to work. For The Salvation Army Hawaii, this is a positive, secondary effect of the organization’s primary mission, which is to help people end addictions to drugs or alcohol. For its clients, job training and placement are part of a larger therapeutic process to help clients gain self-sufficiency.
The Center for Tomorrow’s Leaders focuses on high school students–preparing them for later careers in business. Executive director Katie Chang cites research estimating that 65% of kids now in Kindergarten will go on to have jobs that don’t yet exist, so her organization focuses on broad skills and behaviors for success.
Pacific Gateway Center has, for the past 45 years in Hawaii, centered its services around refugees, asylum seekers and new immigrants, emphasizing entrepreneurship. Its clients go on to start their own businesses, often restaurants, sometimes with the nonprofit itself as an investor. Meanwhile, The Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement has quick-start programs to prepare people for work in the trades and in public safety.
The low unemployment environment has been helpful for these nonprofits. Fundraising has been somewhat easier as people see the need for more workers. And they’ve been able to up their game. Katy Chen, chief operating officer of Goodwill Hawaii, says her organization has been able to shift from helping clients get any job to helping them get better jobs.