Friday, February 2, 2001
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Posted on: Friday, February 2, 2001

Isle firms to increase recruiting of former residents

By John Duchemin
Advertiser Staff Writer

State government and high-technology business leaders will hold five job fairs on the Mainland in March, continuing a series of events designed to alleviate a high-tech labor shortage in Hawai
i and attract skilled former islanders back to their home state.

The state-run High Technology Development Corp. and companies including Adtech Inc. and Pihana Pacific will visit San Francisco on March 6 and nearby Mountain View, a Silicon Valley community, on March 7. A second tour will travel to Phoenix on March 20, San Diego on March 21 and Los Angeles on March 22.

The fairs will be the latest of several "kamaaina come home" events that have drawn hundreds of former Hawaii residents since October 2000. A Dec. 28 fair at Punahou School drew about 25 Hawaii companies and 1,000 job seekers, many of them recent alumni of Punahou, Iolani School and Kamehameha Schools. A similar October visit to Silicon Valley resulted in key hires for several local companies.

Technology companies have produced hundreds of jobs in Hawaii in recent years — and drained the local labor pool of many of its computer programmers, electrical engineers and holders of specialized advanced degrees. To get top-notch help, businesses say, often means looking elsewhere.

"The success of the first events made us want to do more," said Vicky Chiu-Irion, marketing and business development manager for the state government’s High Technology Development Corp. "It’s clear that we need these events to help raise awareness of the opportunities here. Some of our companies have gone on their own to Mainland job fairs, paid $7,000 to get in and come home with nothing. So we’re not only backing them with credibility, but we’re saving them a ton of money."

After one day of solicitation, five local companies — Adtech, Pihana, Sprint’s Hawaii division, Science & Technology International and the nonprofit Ohana Foundation — have signed up for the March events, Chiu-Irion said.

Others interested in attending can contact Chiu-Irion by calling 539-3845 or e-mailing

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