Roots of Kauai’s Future Environmental Leaders
Malama Kauai piloted their free Roots of Kauai Green Careers Certificate program this summer for Kauai young adults, providing environmental literary and career development education, combined with an internship and green business plan project. The program’s students have completed their program this week and are going full-speed ahead to greener futures on Kauai.
Five students have already secured new green jobs since the program began at the end of May in the fields of solar and aquaponics installation, sustainable farming, conservation, and local beverage production.
“What’s different about the program is that it has provided me with great networking opportunities, and access to various community projects,” says Kalea Sotelo, 23, of Wailua. “My internship with Kauai Juice Co. has allowed me to experience the operation of a small, but very successful business, and I get to work together with some very skilled and motivated individuals. Most importantly, I have gained more confidence to go out and do the things that matter most to me.”
Students also developed green business plans for businesses or community projects and pitched them to a judging panel of community leaders for their final project. Nicolle Jones, 25, of Kilauea, started G.I.V.E., a vermiculture and soil improvement business.
“The program has helped me realize my potential beyond the goals I had set for myself. I have been able to see that I can envision greater and larger goals that I once thought were not realistic,” said Jones. “The green careers training program really gives us young adults another opportunity to learn, grow, explore, create and give back.
The community is invited to students’ graduation ceremony and green networking potluck event on Thursday, August 21 at 6 p.m. at Lydgate Pavilion to share their stories and celebrate their successes.
“It will be a great opportunity to network with people interested in sustainability on Kauai, and get to see first-hand what our students’ futures hold,” says Megan Fox, Director of Operations for Malama Kauai. The community will also get to see presentations from the pitch competition’s winners.