Goodwill Moves Into Kapolei

Linda Dela Cruz
Wednesday - March 24, 2010
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Goodwill Industries of Hawaii opens the doors to its brand-new Goodwill Ohana Career and Learning Center of Kapolei next month, and with the 30,000-square-foot center comes multimedia-equipped rooms, computer labs and meeting rooms for employment counselors to help nearly 12,000 people find jobs statewide.

“We’re really excited to be a part of the Kapolei community,” said Laura Kay Rand, vice president of corporate service for Goodwill Industries of Hawaii. “The center brings the services into the neighborhood of the people who are using our services. Now it is easier for them to get to us instead of taking a two-hour bus ride to town.”

A three-year, $13 million capital campaign financed the purchase of the land and the building. About 150 new jobs are expected to be added at the Kapolei location.

“Kapolei is expanding exponentially as far as job opportunities here,” noted Rand. “We are working to expand the employers whom we are working with.”

Goodwill helps to find jobs for individuals who may be going through a rough patch. The nonprofit helps people with a lack of work experience, at-risk youths, those on public assistance, recent immigrants from Micronesia, recent releases from the criminal justice system, people with disabilities and others. For more information, call 792-5080.

One program that had previously operated out of the state building in Kapolei is already using the new center, located at 2140 Lauwiliwili St. The program helps people on public assistance find jobs so they can be financially independent.

“Through work we find the values in ourselves,” said Rand, who has been with the group since 1989. “We have the power to create goals and make them happen. Work gives us a social network, a support network - that is where we spend most of our conscious hours.”

Ola I Ka Hana, a program that assists 14- to 21-year-olds who may have dropped out of school or been expelled, also will be based at the Kapolei facility. Through this program, Goodwill assists youths with reconnecting with school, getting their GED or alternative high schools.

“You hear things you never expected to hear, like ‘I thought that I was worthless and everyone gave up on me. Then you sent me a letter that said come let us help you find your goals, and we are going to help you achieve them. And I didn’t realize I had forgotten how to dream,‘“Rand said.“You hear these things, and they strike you in your stomach. Being able to see the change that work brings is so cool.”

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