HONOLULU, HI – Today, Senator Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI) spoke with more than 20 students participating in the WorkHawaii Youth Program (WHYP) at the new American Job Center on Oahu. The program is designed to assist young adults from vulnerable backgrounds achieve their educational and employment goals through job and skills training, and is made possible by funding from multiple federal programs.
“The WorkHawaii Youth Program is helping vulnerable young people in Hawaii gain valuable job skills while strengthening our state’s workforce,” said Senator Hirono. “Thanks to this program, the young people I met today are building better lives for themselves and their families as they prepare to enter in-demand fields like construction, health care, and customer service. I’ll keep fighting to make sure WHYP and other workforce development programs continue to receive federal funding, while working to create good-paying jobs for people in Hawaii and across our country.”
WHYP serves approximately 150 students per year and is administered by the City and County of Honolulu’s WorkHawaii Division. It is one of several services housed within the Oahu American Job Center. WHYP connects students with paid and unpaid work experience opportunities and provides alternative secondary school, occupational skills training, and comprehensive guidance and counseling. During the visit, Senator Hirono was accompanied by Yvette Cudal, a coordinator and case manager at WHYP and Leina'ala Nakamura, WorkHawaii Program Administrator.
Earlier this morning, Senator Hirono, a member of the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee, also had breakfast at Rainbow Drive-In and met with the business’s owner to discuss federal funding they received from the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Paycheck Protection Program. Photos of that visit are available here.
“Rainbow Drive-In is a local institution that has served iconic Hawaii staples for more than sixty years,” said Senator Hirono. “Thanks to the Paycheck Protection Program, Rainbow Drive-In was able to weather the COVID-19 pandemic and is continuing to serve locals and tourists alike. I enjoyed starting my day with some fried rice and great conversation with Rainbow management and patrons.”
As a member of the Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship, Senator Hirono has worked to secure federal support for Hawaii’s small businesses. Last November, she visited small businesses in Kaimuki to meet with business owners and discuss how federal programs, including the Paycheck Protection Program, enabled them to remain in business through the COVID-19 pandemic.
B-roll and photos of the Senator’s event are available here