Hawaii remote worker relocation program launched

50 Remote Workers Will Receive a Free Round Trip Ticket to Hawaii


The State of Hawaii this week launched “Movers & Shakas,” a new remote work program aimed at former Hawaii residents and those from out-of-state who want to work remotely from the islands.

The program incorporates a unique “give and get” approach, seeking those who are passionate about the values of Hawaii and who have the skills and willingness to contribute to the local community.

Remote workers interested in joining the first cohort of the program are encouraged to fill out an online application by December 15, 2020. Fifty applicants who meet the qualifications will be chosen for the first cohort and will receive a free round-trip ticket to Oahu. Subsequent applicants will be accepted to the program on a rolling basis.

Hawaii currently has the lowest rate per capita of COVID infections in the country, also making it one of the safest places to live and work.

The program was launched through a partnership with the Hawaii state government, business leaders, alumni associations at schools and colleges, and founding organizations including the Central Pacific Bank Foundation, Hawaii Executive Collaborative, Island Holdings, Inkinen, and FCH Enterprises (parent company of Zippy’s restaurants).

These partners developed “Movers & Shakas” to help provide some relief to Hawaii’s tourism industry, a main economic driver for the state that has been impacted due to the pandemic, while also creating a way to increase knowledge resources by connecting local and out-of-state professionals.

“We wanted to help fill the gap from the decrease we’ve experienced in the 7-day visitors to our state,” said Jason Higa, CEO of FCH Enterprises, parent company of Zippy’s, and leader who has spearheaded the program. “Now that many people have the choice to work remotely, there’s an opportunity for former local residents to return home and for out-of-state individuals and families to live and work from Hawaii for a longer period of time.

“We believe this program will attract many former Hawaii residents and professionals seeking a safe, warm environment to continue living their normal lives while contributing to the Hawaii community,” Higa added.

About “Movers & Shakas

The program will first launch on Oahu, with the first 50 qualified applicants receiving a free round-trip to the island. Future applicants will be accepted on a rolling basis and will eventually expand to neighboring islands at a later date. Program participants will receive access to promotions, special program benefits and opportunities to interact with the local community. Participants will also be asked to contribute their skill sets and knowledge to the community and businesses during their time in Hawaii.

“Give” Program Elements

Applicants to the program take a “Pledge to Our Keiki,” making a commitment to respect the culture and natural resources of Hawaii during their stay. The program also includes a skill match component, wherein “Movers & Shakas” participants commit several hours a week to a Hawaii nonprofit. The participants will apply their expertise to strengthen local communities.

“Get” Program Elements

In return for their volunteer work, “Movers & Shakas” program participants receive exclusive discounts on month-to-month accommodations, flights, restaurants, attractions and other services they need while living in Hawaii. Participants in the program also have access to networking opportunities with Hawaii business professionals and with other Movers & Shakas program participants.

Richard Matsui was both born and raised in Hawaii but lived away from the islands since graduating from high school. “The pandemic provided an unexpected opportunity for me to leave the San Francisco Bay Area and work remotely from Hawaii,” said Matsui, CEO and founder of kWh analytics, a data analytics and financial services firm for the solar energy industry. “I’m excited by the prospect of ‘Movers & Shakas’ bringing even more people like me who can help to diversify our local economy.”

“As part of a Hawaii-based non-profit that is focused on getting people working, I am very excited about this program,” said John Leong, chief executive officer of KUPU. “It encourages people to come back to Hawaii, not as spectators but actively supporting the growth of values rooted in the aloha spirit and making our state and communities stronger.”

“By engaging with local non-profits, individuals gain a unique understanding of Hawaii’s values, while also adding their skills to positively impact people,” Leong added. “Hawaii is a place where those committed to sharing aloha and who have a vision for a better tomorrow can find fertile ground to plant seeds of hope that will make healthier communities and inspire our world in the process.”

Other supporting members include Alohilani Resort, Outrigger Hotels and Prince Hotels.

For more information about the Movers & Shakas program, visit www.moversandshakas.org.

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