August 3, 2022
Member News



Have you heard of the Hawaii Fresh Water Initiative? Organized by Hawaii Community Foundation, the initiative was launched in 2013 to bring multiple, diverse parties together to develop a forward thinking and consensus-based strategy to increase water security for the Hawaiian Islands.

The initiative relies on a blue-ribbon advisory council of individuals with deep knowledge of water and a collaborative spirit to articulate a vision for a more secure and sustainable water future based on shared values, and shared sacrifice.

Through this multi-sector approach, the Fresh Water Advisory Council aims to create 100 million gallons per day in additional, reliable fresh water capacity for the State of Hawaii by 2030.  

More information can be found here

This election season, use your voice and your vote to protect Hawaii’s forests and its water. 
Hawaii Energy opened its 2022 EmPOWER Grant program for businesses on August 1. Can it benefit you?

The 2022 EmPOWER grant is designed to support small businesses and nonprofits that have experienced financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Grants may cover 100% (up to $5,000) of costs for capital improvement projects that help improve the energy efficiency of a facility.

Qualifying projects may include, but are not limited to: AC system replacements, interior or exterior lighting upgrades and purchases of ENERGY STAR® commercial kitchen equipment. Additionally, if upgrades qualify for any of Hawaii Energy's standard rebates, those will be awarded in addition to grant funding.
  • Grants will be awarded as a reimbursement, and businesses located in Hawaii and Maui counties, and in the City & County of Honolulu are eligible. Kauai county business are ineligible.
  • Applications will be open from August 1, 2022 to September 30, 2022.
For more info and details on the application, you can also visit:


On this special edition of the Voice of Business Podcast presented by ALTRES focused on Education and Workforce Development, Jo McGarry interviews Kyle Madriaga, Treasury Investment Officer at First Hawaiian Bank, and Lord Ryan Lizardo, Director, Work-Based Learning at the Chamber of Commerce Hawaii.  

Madriaga and Lizardo discuss how providing real world work-based learning experiences for students is an investment in Hawaii’s workforce. In this episode, we highlight one valuable form of WBL: mentoring.

Business professionals of all ages and career levels can help to mentor Hawaii’s high school students to provide practical professional employability skills and opportunities to learn new concepts needed for the industry that may not be taught in the classroom. Through mentorship, leaders in our business community can grow Hawaii’s talent pipeline, stop the brain drain and create social capital.

Listen and learn how you can get involved with mentoring Hawaii's future and for more information visit

Listen to the Podcast


Hawaii's Relationship with the Military

For the first time in its 21 years, the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement (CNHA) featured a panel discussion on Hawaii’s relationship with the military. The panelists included MG Jamie Jarrard, Chief of Staff, U.S. Indo-Pacific Command; MajGen Mark Hashimoto, USMCR; and Naʻalehu Anthony, Native Hawaiian filmmaker and advocate. MG (ret) Suzanne Vares-Lum moderated the hour-long discussion before more than 300 CNHA members in attendance. The panel tackled the issue of the lack of trust by those in the Native Hawaiian community that is rooted in a long history of betrayal that dates back to the first Western contact. Additionally, the mistrust has been compounded since the November 2021 fuel leak at the Navyʻs Red Hill facility.

MG Jarrad and MajGen Hashimoto echoed the need for more community outreach and engagement, which was received with appreciative applause.  Audience members expressed a desire to share community stories with military personnel and a need for a transition program for military families who are deployed to the state to learn about Hawaii’s history and culture.

“I am grateful to the Council of Native Hawaiian Advancement CEO, Joe Kuhio Lewis, who invited me as the President of East-West Center to moderate a panel that allowed for courageous conversations to happen between Na’alehu Anthony, Jamie Jarrard and Mark Hashimoto, and the CNHA members,” stated MG (ret) Suzanne Vares-Lum. 

“When we engage, we have opportunities to build relationships based on mutual respect and trust; and when we have honest, courageous and constructive conversations, we can enable new future possibilities!” she added.


Last week, 44 Pearl City High School teachers attended an externship supported by First Hawaiian Bank and Gucci. Upon arrival, the teachers were given a tour of FHB followed by guest speakers from several fields including Human Resources, Commercial Real Estate, Commercial Banking, Wealth Management, and Marketing/Advertising Production and Media. They were then joined by Gucci’s Store Director for lunch where they learned key employability skills needed for a career in luxury retail and fashion.

All teachers on the externship currently teach in Pearl City High School’s International Business and Design Academy. This Academy supports students interested in fields such as business, fashion and digital media. The Chamber hopes this experience will help influence curriculum and support students and teachers in learning current employability skills needed for this industry.

Externships equip teachers, counselors, administrators, and education staff with the knowledge they need to create a more relevant and effective curriculum. The guest speakers shared what their job entails, how they got to the position they are in today, and information about the career pathway including students' next steps and employability skills.

A huge thank you to First Hawaiian Bank, Gucci and Pearl City High School for a successful externship! The Education and Workforce Development team at the Chamber will continue to support more teacher externships this school year.

For more information about work-based learning opportunities send the Chamber’s Education & Workforce Development team an email.


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