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Training Underway in Remote Ready Hawai?i Pilot Program

Joshua Woroniecki from Pixabay

Training is underway for the first cohort of the Remote Ready Hawai?i Pilot Program, which matches unemployed residents with remote work offered by companies outside the state.  The program gives Hawai?i residents an opportunity to participate in a growing sector of the global digital economy, but it may take more than employee training to help workers compete.

The Remote Ready Hawai?i Pilot Program is starting small with nearly 100 residents training as customer service or business development representatives. Ka?ala Souza is with the Workforce Development Council, which partnered with the state and private sector to offer the program.

“So we’re working with a small cohort over the next six months or so to get them trained over three or four weeks. They get paid during that program, and then they’re hired,” says Souza, “So they’re going to be working immediately.”

Promising news for the more than 58,000 Hawai?i residents who are still out of work says Scott Murakami, head of the Economic Innovation Team at the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism. But there’s a bigger picture as well.

“Remote work really is not just an issue to address immediate opportunities for Hawai?i’s workforce. It’s a method of making us more resilient,” says Murakami, “But we have to have the ability to compete in that environment.”

For residents with baseline computer skills, Souza says they are at an advantage and may not even need the pilot program to compete in the global digital economy.

“We recognized that there’s tons of opportunities for people to basically change their occupational trajectory almost immediately,” says Souza, “You know now when Google starts announcing in 2020 that they’re going to accept this certification that’s months long in lieu of say a four-year degree, all of a sudden it starts upending everything.”

But Hawai?i residents aren’t the only ones looking for remote work. For the pilot program to succeed, Souza says the state will need to invest in digital literacy training and bolster the islands’ broadband infrastructure.

Kuʻuwehi Hiraishi is a general assignment reporter at Hawaiʻi Public Radio. Her commitment to her Native Hawaiian community and her fluency in ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi has led her to build a de facto ʻōiwi beat at the news station. Send your story ideas to her at
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