Hawaii Chamber of Commerce Works To Address Workplace Shortage Solutions

With the launch of America Works agenda by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Chamber of Commerce Hawaii (COCH) is collaborating with Hawaii’s educators, businesses and community leaders to provide workforce shortage solutions and address unemployment.

According to HireNet Hawaii as of April 2021, there are 53,000 who are unemployed and 37,415 job openings. Compared to a year ago in March 2020, Hawaii had 14,200 unemployed and 31,786 job openings.

In COCH’s recent survey, the workforce shortage is greatly affecting Hawaii businesses because over 80% of Hawaii employers are struggling to fill open positions.

Moreover, 70% says the job openings are putting pressure on their existing employees while 60% say they had to make adjustments in overtime and shift schedules.

In light of the shortages, the Chamber is making collaborative efforts to help Hawaii’s employers and unemployed:

Sector Partnerships: Employer collaboratives are actively meeting to build Hawaii’s talent pool for in-demand jobs in the engineering and healthcare field. The partnerships are co-convened by COCH and the State of Hawaii Workforce Development Council, with support from the University of Hawaii (UH), Hawaii Department of Education and private sector employers.

– Short-Term Training Programs: Multiple short-term training programs are now available through the UH Community Colleges’ Hana Careers Pathway program, the American Job Centers, and others. The COCH is a collaborative partner.

Work-based Learning: Work-based Learning Intermediaries bring real-world work exposure to high school students enrolled in Career Academies. This places students on a career pathway from an early age, increasing their likelihood of attaining an Industry Recognized Certification or degree after high school.

Supply & Demand Alignment: an analysis is underway to identify Hawaii’s current and future IT workforce needs, ensuring that training and education programs in Hawaii are producing the skills and qualifications employers need in the information technology fields. This analysis is a collaboration between the UH Community Colleges, COCH, the Harold KL Castle Foundation, and private sector employers that hire IT workers.

– COCH also recently launched “Hawaii is Hiring,” which is designed to connect Hawaii Residents impacted by COVID-19 with employment and training resources.

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