Supporting Employment Empowerment




SEE Hawaii Work is a dynamic new welfare-to-work service launched statewide by the Hawaii State Department of Human Services.  The program began in February 2005 on Oahu, June 2005 on Kauai, Maui and the east side of the Big Island, and February 2006 on the west side of the Big Island.  In 2007, SEE started working with clients on Molokai.




SEE Hawaii Work takes the concept of apprenticeship and expands it into an effective training-for-hire model with private sector management. The State contracts with a private employment service agency to market SEE, take and fill job orders from companies, and provide ongoing support to employers and employees.

  • SEE is easy to access and designed to meet the needs of the private sector employer.  Most companies participating in SEE never previously hired people on welfare, but they do now.
  • Employers get prescreened job applicants who are ready to work and motivated with great job benefits paid by the State, including on-the-job guidance and mentoring, childcare coverage, health insurance coverage, transportation and housing assistance.
  • Employers set the employee’s hourly wage and the State reimburses the current minimum wage ($7.25 per hour) plus $.50 for each additional full $1.00 per hour paid over the minimum wage up to $12.00 per hour, for up to 40 hours per week.  Employers will also be reimbursed an additional fourteen percent (14%) of the subsidized wages to cover training and employment related expenses, such as Unemployment Insurance, Workers Compensation and FICA.
  • In addition, employers who assist an employee with transportation to and from work can be reimbursed at a negotiated amount up to $200.00 per month.
  • SEE provides the highest wage reimbursement to employers of any government work program in Hawaii. Flexible hiring from 24 to 40 hours of work per week; and employers can receive subsidized wage reimbursements for up to 6 months.
  • Flexible hiring from 24 to 40 hours of work per week; and employers can receive subsidized wage reimbursements for up to 12 months.
  • An unlimited number of SEE employees can be hired by any SEE employer.
  • The employer saves recruitment, hiring and training costs, and benefits from reduced job turnover.
  • The SEE Program saves the State millions of dollars in reduced welfare dependence.



SEE Hawaii Work is the right choice for a diverse range of private sector companies statewide.  As of December 15, 2011 more than 1,250 employers have hired over 3,300 welfare recipients who had little to no earned income or job experience.  The SEE Hawaii Work “Graduates”—those who complete the reimbursement period—have a 82.5% success rate of being retained by their employer.  Many of these employees were about to transition their families off of welfare and become self-sufficient.

Private sector companies statewide have filled a wide variety of positions such as:

o  Office/Clerical
o  Sales/Retail
o  Food Service
o  Hospitality
o  Financial Services
o  Computer Services
o  Telecommunications
o  Medical/Health Care
o  Skilled/Manual Labor
o  Mechanics
o  Social Services




SEE Hawaii Work is highly transferable because every state has welfare recipients who are able to work, and every state has companies that need good, reliable workers.

  • SEE is business-friendly, with a simple, one-page application to fill out and quick salary reimbursement.
  • Operated by a private employment service agency, SEE attracts diverse private sector companies that would not otherwise consider hiring people on welfare.
  • SEE fits perfectly into both urban and rural job markets, for large and small businesses alike.
  • In states like Hawaii with strong economies and low unemployment, there are labor shortages, so SEE helps meet the pressing need of companies for good, reliable workers.
  • In states with weak economies and high unemployment, SEE’s generous employer reimbursement serves as an incentive for companies to choose SEE job candidates, and SEE’s generous employee supports reduce job turnover.




SEE Hawaii Work transforms lives by helping welfare moms and dads break the cycle of poverty, get real jobs in the private sector and stay engaged in gainful employment, while helping companies meet their labor demands with minimal cost and effort. SEE stimulates the economy by growing businesses, turning welfare recipients into taxpaying citizens and reducing welfare rolls.