HI Rising

Job Training for Age-Appropriate Youth

Our first group of six students began their work training on October 6, 2018. The second group of six students will start on January 16, 2019.

At HI Rising, foster youth, youth aging out of the foster care system and age appropriate KHTH alumni (age range: 16-24 years old) may be eligible to participate in this paid work training alternative. As HI Rising is a fully functional retail store, participants will experience a true work experience serving real customers. You will find details about the HI Rising Education Program below the application. 

If you are an interested youth between the ages of 16 to 24 years old, send an email to [email protected], or call our office at 545-5683.

HI Rising’s Education Program includes:

Computer Literacy: Youth who participate in HI Rising and its education program come to us with varying degrees of knowledge about computers and software. This component will address their learning needs individually to assure degrees of computer literacy can be achieved no matter the youth participant’s current level of competency. A preliminary evaluation will be performed with each participant in order to set reasonable and attainable computer literacy goals. Emphasis will be placed on computer skills applicable to business operation, promotion and those needed to achieve success in the remaining education components. At a minimum, participants will understand how to navigate Windows, Microsoft Office (MS) Word, Excel, Publisher; Photoshop, and other design software. This component will be taught by KHTH personnel and volunteers with knowledge of MS Office, Photoshop and design software, and Information Technology.

Introduction to Graphic Design: In this component, participants will be taught the fundamentals of graphic design and concept development using analog and/or computer-based design tools. Focus will be on assisting each participant to develop their own designs that could be applied to t-shirts, hats, water flasks, bags, cards and other retail products. Designs may also be created to help promote youth activities, e.g., birthday parties, or for use by KHTH to promote agency activities and events such as, Surf for the Soul, or to market HI Rising to the community.

Youth receive instruction and coaching by qualified staff or volunteers through each step necessary to take them from concept creation to implementation of their ideas. Youth may use analog (drawing, painting) or digital (computer design software) methods for concept creation. All participants will be encouraged to venture into the digital world of design to finalize their concepts.

This component will give consideration to the local market demand for products that reflect high-quality Hawaii-based design elements. KHTH has relationships with professional graphic designers who are eager to lend their expertise to provide training and be a resource for ongoing product design with youth served.

Fundamentals of Marketing: This training component will focus on understanding and applying the fundamentals of marketing, including building skills to reach potential target populations using word of mouth, face to face promotions, hardcopy marketing materials, social media and website promotions. Training will emphasize methods for marketing and promotion, e.g., increasing HI Rising’s customer base, selling products, and describing the purposes of HI Rising or soliciting funds to support HI Rising. Marketing training will also address brand development and public relations. The fundamentals of marketing training will include real-life activities that have actual work related applications, e.g., starting and sustaining a business. This training component intersects with the Introduction to Graphic Design component and creates opportunities for youth working on each component to learn to work together. KHTH personnel and volunteers with professional business experience will share their expertise during training sessions and be a resource for ongoing marketing ideas and projects.

Retail and Personal Finances: This training component will address creating simple budgets and report spreadsheets using MS Excel. Participants will learn the basics of retail finance accounting utilizing QuickBooks and basic bookkeeping principles. Our goal for this component is to help youth understand the importance of tracking incoming and outgoing revenue streams (accounts payable and receivable) to ensure the viability of HI Rising, or their own future business ventures, and their personal finances. KHTH recognizes this can be a relatively unpopular topic, generally speaking, and will utilize actual and fictitious learning activities to increase its attractiveness to youth. Our goal for this component is to help youth understand the importance of financial planning on personal and business levels, spending less than you earn, investing back into your business, paying bills on time, and planning for the future.

KHTH has several volunteers interested in providing this training with a variety of applications to business and personal financial planning, production and retail sales. Before leaving the project, participants will be asked to develop a personal budget to better visualize goals and steps necessary for them to earn a living wage and spend within their means.

Small Business Planning: This training component will involve youth in fundamental aspects of business plan development. There is a clear overlap with this component and all other components aside from Graphic Design, which we expect to support the value of each component. Youth will learn about HI Rising’s original workforce development, social enterprise business model and the plan created for execution of the boutique, the educational opportunities it presents, and our expectation of the business to be self-sustaining. They will learn to develop a simple business plan of their own for a business of their choosing, whether real or fictitious.

Youth will learn business plan analysis to determine if their business plan goals are reasonable and attainable, e.g., will their plans support business startup and sustainability, or must they alter their plans to make them viable? This component will be implemented with a group of youth within their first few weeks of participation. Our intent is to connect participants with professionals on staff and who volunteer from the community to understand the importance of having a business plan and just how to originate one. Our goal is to help youth create business plans that could be actuated at some point in the future and to increase their motivation and self-confidence to be successful contributors in Hawaii’s workforce.

Merchandising: As HI Rising is a live retail venture, merchandising will be a topic of daily conversation. Youth will learn about merchandising methods commonly used for product promotion, store appearance and optimizing sales. Regular discussions will be held with youth to obtain their input on the visual presentation of HI Rising to maximize customer engagement. Youth will be charged with and supported in the regular duties of stocking products, taking inventory and ensuring acquisition of new products.

We are pleased to have the support of a former KHTH foster youth participant who currently oversees the merchandising of twenty local supermarket floral departments in his regional management position. He, along with other volunteers and KHTH staff, will implement this training component for youth participants.

Customer Service: This component will emphasize customer service as an important part of maintaining ongoing client and customer relationships. Youth participants in the HI Rising curriculum will train in our retail space. Along with a mentor, either a social work volunteer or KHTH staff member, the youth participants will learn the methodologies needed to administer great customer service in a retail environment from one of our partner retailors. Through this initiative, we intend to develop a strong foundation of the importance of a quality customer experience; not only for customer satisfaction, but also for the longevity of any entrepreneurial venture. This component aims to help participants develop active listening skills, strong speaking skills, and a willingness to create resolutions for customer issues.

Mentoring and Life Skills Development: For 17 years, KHTH has provided a mixture of supports to youth to assist them in surviving grief due to loss and exposure to violence. All foster youth have lost their parents, whether temporarily or permanently, whether due to abandonment, abuse or death. The pattern of grief and loss they experience is potentially very damaging and addressing recovery from it is at the foundation of KHTH services. Asking a grieving youth to wake up each day, to get and sustain a job while he or she is dealing with depression compounded with confusion, sadness and anxiety about their existence is highly unlikely without support. It is for this reason this training component will be integrated into the workforce development curricula for all participating youth.

KHTH staff will provide support services through group and individual settings, both at predictable intervals and as needed in more critical times. Focus will be on helping youth to heal from their losses, and to guide them toward understanding why committing to emotional and behavioral stability must be a priority for them as they strive to become contributing members of work teams and society, as a whole.

If you are an interested youth between the ages of 16 to 24 years old, send an email to [email protected], or call our office at 545-5683.