Hamakua Becomes First Site of Rural Outreach Initiative Providing Direct Access to Government and Community Resources

Media Release:

The Hawai’i Department of Labor and Industrial Relations (DLIR) today launched a new effort to provide residents of Hawai’i’s most rural areas with direct access to government and community resources.  The initiative’s first site is located in Honoka’a, within the Hamakua Coast, where services will be provided at the North Hawai’i 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 Hawai’i,” Governor 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 Hawai’i – Hilo’s NHERC, Hamakua Partners in Eldercare, Hawai’i County’s Kapulena Lands project, and the Department of Education’s East and West Hawai’i Community School for Adults.

“We are creating an opportunity to better serve the rural communities of North Hawai’i, 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 Hawai’i Education and Research Center at 775-8890.  A calendar of events is posted at: http://goo.gl/fS9T3.

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

The following agencies are participants in the Rural Outreach Services initiative in Honoka’a:

Arc of Hilo

Arc of Kona

Catholic Charities

Center for Agricultural Success

County of Hawai’i—Aging & Disability Resource Center

County of Hawai’i—Coordinated Services for the Elderly

County of Hawai’i—Office of Housing & Community Development

County of Hawai’i—Human Resources

County of Hawai’i—Research & Development

Department of Defense (Hawai‘i), Office of Veterans Services

Department of Education, Hilo & Kona Community School for Adults,

Department of Labor & Industrial Relations—Disability Compensation

Division, Hawai‘i 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

Hawai’i Center for Independent Living

Hawai’i Community College, Office of Continuing Education & Training

Hawai’i County Economic Opportunity Council

Hawai’i Island Beacon Community

Hawai’i Disability Rights Center

Hawai’i First Federal Credit Union

Hawai’i Home Ownership Center

Hawai’i Island Adult Care, Inc.

Hawai’i Island Workforce & Economic Development Ohana

Hawai’i Small Business Development Center

Hope Services of Hawai’i

Five Mountains Hawai’i

North Hawai’i Drug Free Coalition

University of Hawai’i at Hilo, North Hawai’i Education & Research Center

Services for Seniors

UH – Hilo, College of Pharmacy

Unites Stated Department of Veterans Affairs

Workforce Solutions

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