MEO program offers paid jobs for those impacted by wildfires

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Workers and self-employed individuals, who temporarily or permanently lost their jobs due to the August wildfires and emergency declarations, will be eligible for paid disaster-relief positions and training through a program run by Maui Economic Opportunity.

The Maui Disaster Recovery National Dislocated Workers Grant, federally funded and administered by the state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations, is open to all Maui residents who lost employment or hours – not only residents who lost homes and property in the fires.

The grant targets individuals with limited English proficiency, immigrants, migrant populations, and who are homeless/houseless, facing insecure housing and long-term unemployed having trouble entering the workforce.

Maui Economic Opportunity’s Nicanor Saladino works with a housing client at MEO in Wailuku in September 2020. MEO opens a program today that helps those impacted by the wildfires, the Maui Disaster Recovery National Dislocated Workers Grant. The federally funded jobs program, administered by the state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations, is open to all Maui residents, who lost employment or hours – not only residents who lost homes and property in the fires.

The temporary jobs are for “humanitarian assistance” designed to save lives, alleviate suffering and maintain human dignity in the aftermath of disasters. This includes working to provide food, clothing and shelter. The temporary employment can also include training and supportive services.


The positions are for part-time and full-time positions and pay at least $20.50 an hour.

Specific eligibility requirements include being authorized to work in the US, registered for Selective Service by males and residing on Maui on Aug. 8, the day of the wildfires, and being one of the following:

  • Temporarily or permanently laid off due to the emergency proclamation.
  • Dislocated worker. This includes those who lost their jobs due to permanent closure of a business; self-employed, such as farmers or fishers, who lost work due to general economic conditions caused by the disaster; and displaced homemakers providing unpaid services to family members.
  • Long-term unemployed.  These individuals have had no paid work history in the area of the person’s education, training or certification for the last four weeks; averaged fewer than 30 hours per week for the last four weeks; have fewer than 30 hours scheduled for the next four weeks; have been unemployed for four weeks or longer; or have had a barrier preventing work for the previous four weeks.
  • Self-employed individuals who are unemployed or significantly underemployed (income reduced by 25 percent or more or working a low-paying or -skilled job) due to the wildfire disaster.

“MEO is pleased to bring its expertise in employment and placements to the Maui National Dislocated Worker program. We thank Governor Green and his administration for the opportunity to assist our community,” said MEO CEO Debbie Cabebe. “This program will give those displaced and impacted by the wildfires a chance to earn a paycheck while picking up some new skills and supporting the community and efforts to rebuild. This can be a win-win.”


To sign up for the program, go to the MEO website at, move to “Quick Links” section and click on the “Maui Disaster Recovery National Dislocated Worker Grant NDWG” tab or go to the application at

MEO also is looking for businesses and nonprofits to serve as host sites for the workers, for which the program will pay. Those interested should email [email protected]. For more information on the program, call 808-243-4400.


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