State unveils programs for displaced workers, recent grads

The state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism has worked with nonprofits and the private sector to provide up to 650 workers unemployed because of the current economic crisis job training and placement.

DBEDT contracted with Kupu, a conservation and youth education nonprofit, and Economic Development Alliance of Hawaii (EDAH), an economic development nonprofit, to implement this workforce development initiative. There will be two tracks to this program: “Kupu Aina Corps” run by Kupu and “Aloha Connects Innovation” run by EDAH.


The program. funded by up to $10 million provided by the CARES Act, will match displaced workers with companies in emerging industries and Aloha+ Challenge sectors such as conservation, renewable energy, agriculture, creative arts, aerospace, entrepreneurship, and STEM fields. The Aloha+ Challenge is a statewide commitment to achieve Hawaii’s sustainability goals, and locally driven framework to implement the United Nations sustainable development goals.

The programs’ positions will offer on-the-job training, wages starting at $13-$15 an hour, health care benefits, introduction and mentoring within emerging,innovation sectors and workforce training

Ideally, after the on-the-job training, individuals will be hired at the sites they are placed at or within the network of their organization, pursue careers in the emerging, innovation sector, or continue with higher education.


Those eligible are displaced workers and recent college and high school graduates.

Interested applicants and companies interested in hosting participants can apply for the innovation track through Economic Development Alliance of Hawai‘i’s website at and the conservation track through Kupu’s website at

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