Government and community resources coming to Hamakua

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Video by David Corrigan | Voice of Stephanie Salazar Big Island Video News


(Photo courtesy of The Governor's Office)

The state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations (DLIR) has launched an effort to provide residents of Hawaii’s most rural areas with direct access to government and community resources.

The initiative’s first site is in Honokaa, along the Hamakua Coast, where services will be provided at the North Hawaii Education & Research Center (NHERC). The Rural Outreach Services initiative is a partnership between federal, state, county governments, and private non-profit agencies.

“We are here to serve all people of Hawaii,” Gov. Neil Abercrombie said. “We’re making it easier for those who live in remote communities to receive the services they expect by bringing together government agencies, community groups, nonprofits and businesses.”

Hamakua residents will receive services from 38 agencies on a rotating basis. The wide range of services include among other issues -job training, health care, housing, and agriculture.

“Rural Outreach Services is an initiative that will turn lives around,” said Rep. Mark Nakashima, a member of the initiative’s coordinating committee, who also sits on the advisory board for NHERC. “Because of the long distances that people need to travel on the Big Island, many residents have not been getting the services they need, whether it is job-related, housing, or even health care.”

The Rural Outreach Services initiative is a public-private partnership of agencies supported by the DLIR Workforce Development Division, University of Hawaii – Hilo’s NHERC, Hamakua Partners in Eldercare, Hawaii County’s Kapulena Lands project, and the Department of Education’s East and West Hawaii Community School for Adults.

“We are creating an opportunity to better serve the rural communities of North Hawaii, which will be a model for other rural areas across the state,” said DLIR Director Dwight Takamine, also a member of the coordinating committee for Rural Outreach Services. “This is a truly community-driven effort to address barriers to services by empowering rural communities.”

Services will be provided on a first-come, first-served basis, with no appointments necessary.
During the month of July, one agency will be available at the NHERC on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Agency availability will increase beginning August.

For more information and a schedule of upcoming services, workshops and conferences, contact the North Hawaii Education and Research Center at 775-8890.

A calendar of events is posted at:

The first workshop on entrepreneurial opportunities will take place at NHERC on July 27, 2011. It is being provided by Hawaii County’s Department of Research & Development and the Small Business Development Center West Hawaii and will include one-on-one consultations on-site.

The following agencies are participants in the Rural Outreach Services initiative in Honokaa:

  • Arc of Hilo
  • Arc of Kona
  • Catholic Charities
  • Center for Agricultural Success
  • County of Hawaii—Aging & Disability Resource Center
  • County of Hawaii—Coordinated Services for the Elderly
  • County of Hawaii—Office of Housing & Community Development
  • County of Hawaii—Human Resources
  • County of Hawaii—Research & Development
  • Department of Defense (Hawaii), Office of Veterans Services
  • Department of Education, Hilo & Kona Community School for Adults,
  • Department of Labor & Industrial Relations—Disability Compensation
  • Division, Hawaii District Office, Unemployment Insurance Division, Workforce Development Division, Wage Standards Division, Occupational Safety & Health Division, Veteran Employment & Training Service
  • Department of Human Services, Vocational Rehabilitation Division
  • Hawaii Center for Independent Living
  • Hawaii Community College, Office of Continuing Education & Training
  • Hawaii County Economic Opportunity Council
  • Hawaii Island Beacon Community
  • Hawaii Disability Rights Center
  • Hawaii First Federal Credit Union
  • Hawaii Home Ownership Center
  • Hawaii Island Adult Care, Inc.
  • Hawaii Island Workforce & Economic Development Ohana
  • Hawaii Small Business Development Center
  • Hope Services of Hawaii
  • Five Mountains Hawaii
  • North Hawaii Drug Free Coalition
  • University of Hawaii at Hilo, North Hawaii Education & Research Center
  • Services for Seniors
  • UH – Hilo, College of Pharmacy
  • Unites Stated Department of Veterans Affairs
  • Workforce Solutions

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