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Ka Lima reverses positions at job fair

Robert Webb describes his job qualifications while being interviewed by State Developmental Disabilities Council Program Specialist Roxann Kehus during Friday’s Ka Lima O Maui Reverse Job Fair at the J. Walter Cameron Center. “I want to work so I can be more independent,” Webb said after the interview was completed. — The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo

While most job fairs have business owners and managers welcoming potential employees to their booth or table, Ka Lima O Maui’s inaugural Reverse Job Fair on Friday flipped the script at the J. Walter Cameron Center in Wailuku. It was the job seekers behind the tables as they greeted potential employers to hear what they have to offer.

One of the hunters was a go-getter from Haiku named Robert Webb. Webb started with Ka Lima as a participant in its Vocational and Work Adjustment Training Services course. When COVID-19 happened, instead of delaying his participation in VWATS until it could be in-person again, he seamlessly learned the process of operating Zoom so he could continue with online instruction.

COVID-19 also created complications in availability of internships around the island, which is a component of the VWATS course. Not one to sit around, Robert, decided to be proactive and start his own car washing business in his neighborhood until an opportunity became available.

Robert went on to complete an internship at Pukalani Superette while continuing to wash cars. He is currently looking for a part-time job and created a personal information job board that he presented to potential employers at Friday’s Reverse Job Fair.

 “I want to work so I can be more independent,” Webb said after completing one of his interviews Friday.

Job hunter Sarah McGowan is interviewed at the Cameron Center on Friday.  — The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo

Ka Lima Director of Marketing Darby Gill said the job hunters are raring to go. “They’re all ready to work.”

“It was a great opportunity for Ka Lima O Maui participants,” Gill said. “In this time of high unemployment we appreciate everyone’s support.” 

October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month, with this year’s theme titled, “Increasing access and opportunity.” This year marks the 75th observance of disability employment month. It is also the 30th anniversary of the Americans With Disabilities Act.

* Matthew Thayer can be reached at thayer@maui.net.

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