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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, February 23, 2006

Goodwill receives $2 million for expansion into Kapolei

By Karen Blakeman
Advertiser Staff Writer

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For information on how to help Goodwill Industries of Hawaii in its Leeward expansion, call Laura Kay Rand at 792-8562. For general information on Goodwill, see www.higoodwill.org.

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During a brief ceremony at Goodwill's Beretania facility yesterday, Mayor Mufi Hannemann presented a $2 million grant to Goodwill Industries of Hawai'i for expansion into Kapolei and creation of a new Ohana Career & Learning Center.

"It's an opportunity for the city to help Goodwill Industries of Hawaii to help the people of O'ahu," Hannemann said. "It means more jobs on that side of the island, and that means fewer cars on the road.

"It helps to fulfill our vision of a 'Second City' on O'ahu."

The money was given as a community development block grant.

Goodwill president and CEO Laura Robertson, struggling so the photographers could keep her in the same frame with the vertically endowed mayor, accepted a large cardboard poster of the check during the ceremony.

The money will be applied to the $11 million dollar project to be built on a 2.2 acre site in Kapolei Business Park, near the fire station and Hoku Scientific Inc.

Goodwill is using the city's donation to purchase the land, and is hoping for private donations to pay off the project's remaining $9 million cost.

"We're closing on Tuesday," Robertson said.

The 40,000-square-foot, two-story building will have a retail store and a drive-through lane for donations on the lower level, and classrooms equipped with computers and other technology on the upper level.

"We'll run a computer training lab six days a week for computer classes and for the job-seeking public to work on resumes and do job searches," she said.

The organization estimates that each year, it will help more than 1,600 people obtain work, and the store and donation center also will create jobs.

The center also will include a large meeting room with a small kitchen to be used for community events, she said.

Goodwill began serving Hawai'i in 1959. It operates eight retail stores on O'ahu and the Big Island, and last year assisted 6,653 people and helped place 1,050 into jobs.

Reach Karen Blakeman at kblakeman@honoluluadvertiser.com.