The two organizations merge to become a single, stronger voice for businesses and economic development in the West Oahu region
KAPOLEI, Hawaii — The voice for businesses and economic development in West Oahu has become stronger with the merger of the West Oahu Economic Development Association (WOEDA) and the Kapolei Chamber of Commerce (KCC). Together, the “new” Kapolei Chamber of Commerce will become a single voice, advocating on behalf of its members and the entire business community in West Oahu to improve the region and state’s economic climate and help businesses thrive.
“As we look around West Oahu, we see the results of the nearly 20 years of dedication and hard work WOEDA and its members have committed to advocating for jobs, economic growth and prosperity in the region,” said Todd Bedford, president of KCC board of directors. “We look forward to WOEDA and its members becoming a part of the Kapolei Chamber and working together to make our community more vibrant through the support of our core initiatives.”
The major initiative that KCC will be advocating for during the 2018 Legislative Session includes:
- Kapolei Jobs Initiative Pilot Program: Focus on bringing more professional, living wage jobs into the region to help keep pace with population growth in West Oahu. The initiative would help stimulate job growth by providing income tax credits and unemployment insurance tax credit incentives for businesses who establish or open an additional location in the region. There is currently a bill being considered at the Hawaii State Legislature this session.
In addition, they will continue to work on the following initiatives:
- Hire Leeward Initiative: In partnership with Honolulu City Councilmember Kymberly Marcos Pine, this initiative seeks to connect West Oahu residents with jobs closer to home that allows families to spend more time together and improves employee morale and retention. Each year, KCC sponsors an annual job and career fair, the next Hire Leeward Job and Career Fair will be held on Saturday, June 23, 2018 at UH West Oahu. At last year’s fair, 75 businesses and organizations participated in hopes of recruiting new workers from the more than 2,000 West Oahu residents who attended.
- Workforce Development: KCC is working with secondary and higher education institutions to support career pathway programs including mentoring and internship opportunities for students in growth sectors including healthcare, hospitality and creative media.
- Helping West Oahu Businesses Thrive: Throughout the year, KCC hosts various events and programming for its members and the community, which includes the Blue Zones Project an initiative to promote health and wellness in the workplace and signature events like KCC’s very popular pau hana networking events. These luncheon and panel events are networking opportunities for West Oahu businesses that keeps them informed on what is happening in the region.
The current chair of the WOEDA board of directors, Chris Lee will become a director of the Kapolei Chamber of Commerce.
“Becoming a unified voice for businesses and economic development in West Oahu, as well as the community at-large, is what’s important to both the members of WOEDA and KCC,” explained Lee. “We look forward to joining KCC and advocating together for our community and the future of this region.”
State Senator Will Espero, one of the founding members of WOEDA said, “The vision of Kapolei becoming a second city has occurred. New homes, schools, roads, and businesses have transformed West Oahu into a vibrant dynamic community. With the Kapolei Chamber of Commerce and WOEDA now merging, a strong unified business entity will be able to advocate and support the second city. Together, these groups will continue to be the voice and champion of the Kapolei business community. As one of the founding members of WOEDA, I look forward to a long lasting legacy which will benefit West Oahu and the state of Hawaii.”
Founded in 2001, WOEDA is a private, non-profit organization that was formed by local businesses to meet the needs of one of Hawaii’s fastest growing areas. As the number of businesses and population in the West Oahu region doubled over the last two decades, WOEDA focused its efforts on advocating for job development and a mass transit alternative, they developed programs focused on economic growth and brought together partners who shared their vision of bringing jobs and prosperity to West Oahu.
“I’m looking forward to welcoming WOEDA’s members to the Kapolei Chamber, this is an exciting and positive step for West Oahu,” said Kiran Polk, executive director of KCC. “Together, we will work to create an environment where businesses can grow and prosper while ensuring that this region is a great place to live, work and play.”
Founded in 2008, the Kapolei Chamber of Commerce (KCC) works on behalf of its approximately 300 members and the entire business community to improve the regional and state economic climate and help West Oahu business thrive. KCC’s members include proprietorships and individuals, small businesses and large corporation. For more information, visit www.kapoleichamber.com.