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Pacific Business News Maui Means Business Panel

Maui Health was once again invited to speak at the Pacific Business News (PBN) annual Maui Means Business panel event, which took place on October 7 at the Royal Lahaina Resort. Maui Health Chief Strategy Officer Jim Diegel, along with local Maui leaders in the hospitality, finance, real estate, and private business sectors, talked about their own hiring, recruitment and incentive strategies, short- and long-term solutions for affordable housing, and what they’re most excited for in 2023.

A shared challenge for everyone on the panel was recruitment, as well as finding creative ways to come together as a county and state to make housing affordable for our workforce, including for our health care workers.

"How many of you are experiencing challenges hiring staff," asked Jim Diegel.

Most hands in the audience of more than 120 business leaders in attendance at event quickly shot up; opening the discussion and making a national issue instantly quantifiable for Maui employers feeling the U.S. labor shortage at the county level.

Diegel said Maui Health is seeing an exodus from the health care field entirely, as workers have faced burnout from the pandemic and decided to change careers. While Maui Health’s advertising and social media efforts help get the word out on open jobs, the local health system is also focused on workforce development, such as internal training for operating room technicians and certified nurse aides. “After they (CNA's) complete the six-week course, we’ll offer them a job,” he explained.

Goodfellow Bros. introduced a college interest and internship program for Maui high school and college students looking for training or jobs in trades. The goal, Goodfellow said, is to attract and take care of “employees for life.”

Displaced workers are contributing to the worker shortage,” added Tumpap, noting affordable housing is one of the Maui Chamber of Commerce's top priorities. Maui employers are finding that hiring and housing challenges go hand in hand.

One way Maui Health is approaching the housing crisis is by partnering with a developer and nonprofit Na Hale O Maui to build affordable housing for its employees on 16 lots in Maui Lani. “I know that’s not much, but it’s a start,” Diegel said. “Again, the danger is if we do not provide creative and affordable mechanisms for our workforce to live here, that will affect health care. That will affect government, schools, the construction industry – you name it.

All the answers require work,” Goodfellow said, “As business leaders, we need to do a better job of working with people on the other side. We must have united vision.

Panelists for the event included:

  • Keoni Fursse, CEO and Principal Broker of Kokua Realty
  • Chad Goodfellow, CEO of Goodfellow Bros.
  • Pamela Tumpap, president of Maui Chamber of Commerce
  • Stephen Hinck, general manager of Royal Lahaina Resort & Bungalows
  • Jim Diegel, chief strategy officer, Maui Health

Read the complete story here.