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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                    
November 13, 2003




 Up to 500 Firms Expected to Attend; Businesses Can Pre-Register at


Mayor Jeremy Harris announced today the inaugural of the City and County of Honolulu’s “Keeping Hawai`i In Business” event which will be held Nov. 18 and 19 from noon to 7 p.m. at the Neal S. Blaisdell Center Exhibition Hall. This is the first in a series of initiatives involving the City, State, labor and business to deliver government services, training and consulting to local businesses.  


The Oahu Workforce Investment Board (OWIB) and local training company TeraBiz, in partnership with the Hawaii Institute for Public Affairs, the State Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT) and the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations (DLIR) are producing the event.  In addition, the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs (DCCA), the State Tax Office, the Internal Revenue Service, DBEDT’s Business Action Center and several private consulting firms will be present with staff, to answer questions.  (See the attached list of participants and sponsors).


“We want to make sure that every business is prepared for the construction boom, whether it is a small business or a large company,” said Mayor Harris. “Projected construction projects for Oahu will provide an incredible boost for our economy and we want local employers to share in this opportunity. Government regulations can be very complicated and exacting. We want to take away some of the mystery and help level the field for local companies.”


“With the help of our partners we will transform the Blaisdell into a ‘one-stop center’ for any employer interested in construction and related services.,” said Tim Ho, Chair of the Oahu Workforce Investment Board.  “This is not an expo or tradeshow.  Contractors interested in improving their businesses practices will meet one-on-one with counselors to review their business.” OWIB is a division of the City’s Department of Community Services.  In addition to the services provided at the event, OWIB is also funding additional training to businesses that complete a needs assessment at the workshop.


 Pre-registration for consulting appointments can be made at Walk-ins are also welcome to attend the event. 


“Our department is committed to providing the assistance necessary to enable Hawaii’s employers with opportunities to be successful,” said Nelson Befitel, Director of Labor and Industrial Relations for the State of Hawaii.  “By participating in this partnership and helping these companies be successful, we help in expanding the economy and creating the new jobs necessary for Hawaii’s future.  The department will have staff available to offer assistance and or information on Workers Compensation, Unemployment Insurance, Temporary Disability Insurance, Prepaid Healthcare, Hawaii Occupational Safety and Health, Hawaii Civil Rights Commission and Wage Standards." 


             “Improving the vitality of Hawaii businesses is one of our core missions and we are proud to support this public-private initiative”, stated DBEDT Director Theodore Liu,


Lucien Wong, Regional Vice President of Actus Lend Lease, LLC, a recipient of the Military Housing Privatization Initiative for both the Army and Air Force, recommends that any subcontractor interested in the privatization initiatives attend this event.  “This is a great opportunity for contractors to review their needs, and receive specialized training.”


The Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii has been actively encouraging business people to prepare for the opportunities ahead. “Hawaii is poised to emerge from its protracted economic slump and reap the benefits of a significant influx of federal dollars, a red-hot housing market, renewed interest in commercial investment and an uptick in the global economy. It’s the golden opportunity we’ve been waiting for. The time is now to place a concerted focus on workforce development. The business community needs to partner with schools, government, unions, private agencies, training facilities and promote programs to prepare our people to be a part of the wave that’s coming,” said Jim Tollefson, Chamber president.


Future “Keeping Hawai‘i In Business” events will be held to help businesses in different industries with technical assistance and training so they are able to compete and thrive. The next event will focus on the visitor industry and help local companies that service visitors.  As with the first event, the intent of the visitor industry event is to provide easy access to government services, training and consultation to promote the economic well-being of all businesses servicing visitors.


Said Mayor Harris, “The ultimate goal of ‘Keeping Hawai‘i In Business’ is to contribute to Honolulu’s economic development and help industries stimulate the kind of careers that will keep our residents from leaving, as well as to bring our children home. This is an important step in reversing the ‘brain drain’ and keeping the State competitive in the global economy. I am confident that this series will become a vital part of the solution to Hawai‘i’s business and workforce issues.”


Gregg Yamanaka, Chief Learning Officer for TeraBiz, explains how a consortium of local companies have also developed a cost-effective means of providing operational support and training to businesses on a continued basis.  “The event will showcase an internet-based means of solving many of the operational challenges of small business, such as payroll, human resource benefits, accounting, client information, electronic funds transfer, project management and training.  The value of this model is that a business does not have to invest in expensive hardware or software.”                                           


Bruce Coppa, Managing Director of Pacific Resource Partnership, believes that internet-based delivery systems will be of benefit to many of his organization’s signatory contractors.  “We are continually searching for enhanced business services for contractors that increase efficiency while being cost-effective.”


The “Keeping Hawai‘i In Business” events also set the stage for two other workforce events in January 2004: a job fair for apprenticeships produced by the O‘ahu WorkLinks (a division of the City’s Department of Community Services); and the Hawaii Jobs Summit chaired by Bruce Coppa of the Pacific Resources Partnership and Bennette Evangelista of Central Pacific Bank.  


The job fair, to be held on January 14 at the Neal S.  Blaisdell Center, will help match job seekers and employers, as well as provide information on workforce development programs for both the construction and visitor industries.  The Hawaii Jobs Summit, scheduled for January 20, will discuss Hawaii’s labor pool, and help define and quantify the work skills that will be needed most in the coming years.  Its Honorary Chair is Congressman Neil Abercrombie.




Growing Hawai‘i’s Businesses

List of Participants and Sponsors




  • Oahu Workforce Investment Board
  • City and County of Honolulu O‘ahu WorkLinks (part of the Department of Community Services)
  • State of Hawai‘i’s Department of Labor and Industrial Relations
    • Hawai‘i Civil Rights Commission
    • Hawai‘i Occupational Safety and Health
    • Prepaid Health Care
    • Temporary Disability Insurance
    • Unemployment Insurance Division
    • Wage Standards
    • Worker’s Compensation
  • State of Hawai‘i’s Department of Taxation
  • State of Hawai‘i’s Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism
  • State of Hawai‘i’s Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs
    • Professional and Vocational Licensing Division



  • City and County of Honolulu: O‘ahu Workforce Investment Board (part of the Department of Community Services).
  • State of Hawai‘i: Department of Labor and Industrial Relations; Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism.
  • Nonprofit: Hawai‘i Institute for Public Affairs.


Friday, November 14, 2003

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