Sugar Operators Support Taskforce
On January 6, 2016, Alexander & Baldwin, Inc. announced the cessation of its sugar plantation operations at Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Company (HC&S) by the end of the year. According to the January 6th press release issued by Alexander & Baldwin (A&B), the plantation has been in operation for 145 years and employs approximately 675 people.
On January 7, 2016, Mayor Alan Arakawa ordered the formation of the Sugar Operators Work Assistance Task Force (SOWATF) and assigned Managing Director Keith Regan to head up its development. The taskforce, once formed, renamed itself to the Sugar Operators Support Taskforce.
Mayor Arakawa's intent in forming the task force was to bring together organizations and individuals from all sectors of the public and private sector in order to better coordinate actions and activities designed to help assist dislocated sugar operators. It is the task force's goal is to reduce duplication and ensure the efficient delivery of resources and services to the dislocated sugar workers.
To assist the displaced sugar workers with their transition by identifying and coordinating available employment opportunities, programs and services (including but not limited to training, counseling, job placement, entrepreneurial programs, etc.) and safety net programs (including but not limited to financial counseling, mental health, food and mortgage assistance, etc.), and maximizing their availability to the displaced employees.
For more information, please visit the taskforce's Facebook group page at: https://www.facebook.com/sowatf/
The taskforce is made up of a group of diverse individuals and organizations from both the private and public sector. These organizations and individuals have worked and continue to work tirelessly to provide assistance to those impacted by the closure of HC&S's sugar operations.
Taskforce MeetingsThe taskforce generally meets once per month and will continue to meet until it is determined that its purpose has been completed.
The taskforce consists of five subcommittees with specific responsibilities. They are:
- Government Grants & Resources
- Employment, Jobs, & Job Fairs
- Health & Human Services
- Education & Training