The Green Leaf

Hawaii's future green workforce

June 17th, 2011
Kupu's annual Environmental Fair provides its members with an opportunity to network with companies and organizations for future "green" careers. Courtesy photo.

Kupu's annual Environmental Fair provides members of the Hawaii Youth Conservation Corps (HYCC) with the opportunity to network with companies and organizations for future "green" careers. Photo courtesy of Kupu.

Hawaii's future green workforce is in the works.

Today, at ING Direct Cafe in Waikiki, Kupu is holding its annual Environmental Fair for Hawaii Youth Conservation Corps members from across Hawaii. There, the youth will get to network and learn of opportunities in "green" careers as they complete their training week and begin a summer full of invasive species removal, trail building, and more.

The Blue Planet Foundation, Pono Pacific, Rewarding Internships for Sustainable Employment (RISE), and Hawaii Energy are expected to be on hand.

If you haven't heard of Kupu, it's a 501(c)(3) non-profit dedicated to empowering young adults to serve their communities through character building, service learning and environmental stewardship opportunities. Kupu is also the home organization to youth training programs, including HYCC.

Kupu is recruiting youth ages 17 to 24 for its Fall Urban Corps program. Applicants will be accepted on a rolling basis until July 1.

Kupu in Hawaiian means "to sprout, grow, germinate, or increase," and takes inspiration from the kupukupu fern, which is one of the first plants to spring back after a lava flow.

Speaking of green jobs, Jeffrey Matsu, lead researcher of the Hawaii Green Jobs Initiative at the state labor department says the green economy in Hawaii is "positioned to grow rapidly" in the latest issue of the Hawaii Employment Guide.

The state estimates there are about 11,145 "green" jobs in Hawaii, with an additional 2,903 expected to come online by 2012, according to a recent study. The study defined a "green job" as: "one that engages in economic activity that makes a positive impact on the environment or energy sustainability, either on a full- or -part-time basis."

There's also a green jobs website now -

Speaking of jobs, Re-use Hawaii is hiring for the following part-time and full-time positions: warehouse manager, customer service/salvage specialist, deconstruction crew, and deconstruction project developer. Email with "green jobs" in the subject line for more information.

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