The Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii
e-Voice of Business
March 5, 2014

In this March 5, 2014 edition:

President's Message
Update on 2014 Legislative Session
Trained and Experienced Vets Seek Management and Skilled Labor Positions
Where's COCHi?

President's Message

Aloha Chamber Members:

Currently in Japan, I was invited by the Japanese government to participate in a Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) program. Leaders from around the world in the field of politics, economics, administration and academia are invited to participate in this program as an opportunity to deepen their understanding of Japan through the exchange of views with Japanese experts from government and private sector, as well as through visits to industrial and cultural institutions.
MOFA has scheduled more than 30 meetings for me to meet with various business leaders and government officials. Although the schedule has been vigorous, I am enjoying this program immensely.
So far, I've met with various CEOs and senior executives from leading Japanese and multinational corporations, the Keidanran, the business federation and government officials, including the Mayor of Yokohama, who is the first female mayor of this jurisdiction. I also had an opportunity to address the Urayasu Chamber of Commerce, whose president became the first female to lead the organization.
It truly has been an inspiring and learning experience so far. The meetings have also provided an opportunity to promote Hawaii, especially as it relates to business opportunities, and discuss ways to further strengthen our important relationship.
I look forward to reporting back to you about my full trip when I return on Monday. Until then, "sayonara, ki o tsukete" (goodbye and take care).

Laulima & mahalo,
Sherry Menor-McNamara
President & CEO


Update on the 2014 Legislative Session 

The Chamber continues to support school readiness to address the gap group that will result from the 2014 change in kindergarten entry age (children must be age five by July 31 of the school year). DOE estimates there are 5,100 children in the gap. With the critical phases of brain development taking place before the age of five, focusing on early childhood is vital. In 2008, the Hawaii Economic Benefits Study of early education for Hawaii showed that for every $1 Hawaii invests in early learning program, the state will receive a return of $4.20. Below are some of the bills we are supporting. 
  • HB 14 HD1/SB 2768 SD 2, Amends the compulsory education law to make kindergarten mandatory.
  • HB 1676 HD1/SB 2236 SD2, Authorizes the use of DOE and public charter schools for use of vacant or underutilized classrooms as public preschool classrooms.
  • HB 2276 HD1/SB 2826 SD1, Establishes the Early Childhood Education Program upon the ratification of a constitutional amendment permitting the appropriation of public funds for private early childhood education.
Modern Agriculture in Hawaii: Join the dialogue. Learn the facts. Be part of the solution.
On March 19th at the Plaza Club from 4:30 pm – 6:30 pm, hear from Dr. Steve Savage, author of “Modern Pesticides: Why they matter & how much they have changed,” and Dr. Peter Davies, author of “GMO Crops and Food: Fact & Fiction,” about the facts and science on modern agriculture in Hawaii and the world. 
This is a Chamber member only event and is free to our members. We will be hosting heavy pupus and cocktails. To register, visit our website.

Trained and Experienced Vets Seek Management and Skilled Labor Positions

Highly skilled service members will be among the estimated one million veterans that will enter the civilian job market over the next five years, an opportunity for small businesses, especially in the construction industry, to fill supervisory and skilled labor vacancies with tested veterans who have experience constructing bases in the middle Middle East deserts, building schools in remote villages and repairing complex machinery in combat zones.
The American Forces Press Service reported that First Lady Michelle Obama announced that more than 100 construction companies plan to take advantage of this opportunity and have committed to hiring 100,000 veterans by 2015. “Our troops have taken on some of the most challenging projects in some of the most inhospitable places under some of the toughest deadlines and constraints,” she said, adding that America’s military produces our “highest skilled, hardest working employees this country has ever seen.”
The First Lady noted that service members use the GI Bill to enroll in accredited civilian training programs and apply military training toward earning civilian credentials, particularly in high-demand fields like plumbing and heating, ventilation and air conditioning.
Labor Secretary Thomas Perez addressed the National Symposium on Veterans Employment in Construction recently and stated that apprenticeships, certification and credentialing programs are also provided by local labor unions and individual employers.
Hawaii small businesses and labor unions are encouraged to take advantage of this opportunity.

Recruit and Win: Earn a Trip to Paris

To find out where COCHi, the Chamber's ONE AND DONE membership campaign mascot, is and has been, you’ll need to follow her on Facebook and Twitter. Last Friday, COCHi goat made her way to Board Chair Dennis Francis’ office at the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, but just for a quick appearance, as Mr. Francis had already recruited his new member, Stanford Carr Development.
From there, COCHi found her way  to board member Gabe Lee’s office at American Savings Bank, where she’s been residing until he brings aboard a new Chamber member. She’s reportedly providing top-notch financial consulting, when she’s not busy consuming the paper goods around Gabe’s desk.
Board member Bernie Coleman with Pacific Allied Products is foregoing a visit by COCHi, as he has already recruited Jim Keller with Armstrong Builders. The same goes for Dr. Ginny Pressler with Hawaii Pacific Health, who recruited the Hawaii Community Foundation as a new member.
COCHi is making visits with all of our board members until each recruits a new member. Board members who don’t bring on a new member will be part of the “Goat Gallery” at our annual luncheon on July 17. Stay tuned on Facebook and Twitter to see where COCHi will be sighted at next!

 As a reminder, the ONE AND DONE membership drive is open to all Chamber member organizations and their employees, offering great award prizes, including a free trip to Paris, Tokyo or Rome for members who recruit one or more members. Click here to learn more.
Member Group Discounts for UH Games
With a group of 24 or more, Chamber members receive significant savings on tickets to UH sporting events, including men’s volleyball and baseball. Click here for more information. 
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