Recent reports in the news highlight that the state’s investment in the ECE workforce has not kept pace with the resources going to the expansion of access to such programs.  John Veneri went to visit the Kalihi location to talk with two administrators, Melodie Vega and Sonya Zabala about a number of topics regarding their business.

“We have been experiencing staffing shortages for a few years now, especially after the pandemic lockdowns.  People learned how to live with staying at home, becoming more financially independent, or living with less.  It was challenging before the pandemic but now we are really seeing the effects of how the pandemic impacted the workforce.  Keiki O Ka Aina’ solution is embedded with our mission. Strengthening families and enriching communities. How do we do this? We hire parents, caregivers and community members who have been part of our programs. You do not need a degree.  Keiki o Ka Aina builds on the strengths and gifts of each individuals. We build parents and care givers to be leaders in their communities, whether intheir home, at PTA at the state legislature We look for people who are passionate about working with children and families, who are passionate about serving our communities and who are from our communities. We collaborate with community colleges to offer degree programs so people can earn their degrees and are paid to learn. While putting food on their table.”

If you are passionate about working with Hawaii’s children, and strengthening Hawaii’s families and communities, visit