Tribune Herald on the TMT Project… HUH? Where are the Locals?

I was trying to figure out how the TMT project was providing a boost in our economy when not many folks right now are even from Hawaii that are working on this project and construction has not officially began.

I fired off the following question to Sandra Dawson the “Task Leader for the TMT Site Master planning”:

I read in the newspaper the other day that the TMT has helped employment numbers on this island, but at no time have I seen an announcement listing job opportunities.

I do see quite a few people employed: http://www.tmt.org/about-tmt/people

Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like many local folks have been hired yet.

When will local folks have an opportunity at applying for positions with TMT.

I got the following response from Ms. Dawson regarding the newspaper article:

The newspaper should have said “will help employment numbers”.  The only hiring we have done so far is a few small contracts with local companies for surveys, and several contracts for consulting.  I am still the only
TMT employee in Hawaii.
Current TMT employees are are specialized telescope designers and scientists, and are in California and Canada.  If there are local folks who qualify for these specialized positions they will be considered.  I see every applicant for jobs from Hawaii, and there have been very few so far.

We hope to begin construction by the end of 2011.  When we do that, we will likely beef up our office staff here with local people, as well as hiring local construction workers.

3 Responses

  1. Ok, so you spent a few hundred thousand dollars, and in the process raised the price of EVERYTHING you purchased along the way. So yeah, I guess it is more direct than I originally thought. In fact, I’ve been directly affected by telescope employees in the past. I was told that my rent was going up by $150/mo. because as the woman at day-lum put it “you have champagne taste on a beer budget, and I can get a subaru guy or a pilot to pay double what you do”. Textbook gentrification. Think about that next time you go to the beach and you don’t see any Native Hawaiians around. They’re all sitting in some cubicle in that craphole you left in your wake in the mainland reading blogs about how “Well-paying secure jobs are a big boost to this economy, even if they are not all going to locals.” Oh and by the way, I’ll let my sister read this after she gets back from her job bussing tables at the casino. I’m sure she’ll totally agree with you on that statement.

  2. This has been my argument all along…most of the “jobs” that will be created are either already filled, or already reserved for someone from the mainland. This may help the “local” economy by causing some graph to point more in one direction, but the effects will be so tertiary to the average big island resident that it won’t even be noticeable. The new giant dome on the mountain however, will be quite noticeable.

    • I don’t think the couple of hundred thousand of dollars that my family have spent on this island as a foreign telescope employees in the last two decades can be called “tertiary”. And that’s before unpaid community contributions are taken into account.

      Well-paying secure jobs are a big boost to this economy, even if they are not all going to locals.

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