Success of the 2020 Rise to Work Program Leads to 2021 Extension of Partnership Between Kauai County and ProService

HONOLULU — Building a stronger, more resilient community requires teamwork and collaboration between Hawaii’s private, public and nonprofit sectors. When ProService heard that the County of Kaua’i wanted to launch a program to connect displaced workers with temporary job opportunities, Hawaii’s largest HR company was committed to leveraging its expertise to help this innovative program succeed. 

In 2020, ProService teamed up with the County of Kaua’i to launch The Rise to Work Program. Using Federal CARES funding, the innovative program connected 280 residents with 100 employers. Kaua’i businesses could reopen and sustain operations without worrying about added payroll or healthcare costs, while Rise to Work hires could receive 12 weeks of pay, free health insurance benefits, and the chance to learn new skills in various local positions.    

Based on the success of the program and the ongoing need, ProService was once again chosen to partner with the County of Kaua’i to expand the program in 2021. Since its re-launch in March, The Rise to Work Program has hired approximately 367 residents to fulfill jobs with 150 employers, thanks to a generous $4.2 million grant from Dr. Priscilla Chan and Mark Zuckerberg through their Chan Zuckerberg Kaua‘i Community Fund of the Hawai`i Community Foundation.

As the human resources provider for this joint initiative, the County of Kaua’i relied on ProService to design and implement a program that would benefit displaced workers and local employers. The HR company not only onboarded and processed payroll for Rise to Work hires but administered healthcare, responded to employer questions and ensured the County of Kaua’i had visibility into how funding was being disbursed. 

“Our Rise to Work program was created with Kaua‘i’s people as our inspiration. As we sought for ways to address our unemployed community and struggling businesses through the unpredictable and ongoing challenges of the pandemic, we knew we needed an out-of-the-box approach,” said Kaua‘i Mayor Derek S. K. Kawakami.

“We believe that people don’t need handouts, they need a helping hand. Our Rise to Work program provides opportunities for people to get back to work and make a living wage while providing the capacity for our local businesses and organizations to thrive. It has made a huge impact in our community, and we thank our partners with ProService Hawai‘i, and Dr. Priscilla Chan, and Mark Zuckerberg through the Hawai‘i Community Foundation, for believing in and supporting Kaua‘i’s people during these difficult times.” 

“We’re extremely grateful for the team at ProService Hawaii. The Rise to Work Program would not have been possible without their expertise. They continuously went above and beyond to take care of Rise to Work participants with great empathy, even hand-delivering paychecks when needed” said Diana Singh, Business Innovation Coordinator with the Office of Economic Development. 

“Rise to Work is a successful blueprint for how our state can effectively partner with the business community to help remedy the unemployment crisis and contribute to revitalizing the economy,” says Ben Godsey, President and CEO of ProService Hawai‘i. “It proves that we can locally conceive, quickly stand up and execute a program that boosts our local economy, supports businesses, and employs our hard-working people with competitive wages and full benefits.”

Watch the video to see how The Rise to Work Program has impacted Kaua’i. 


About ProService Hawaii

ProService is the state’s leader in HR management. The company provides a comprehensive suite of HR solutions including strategic HR, payroll, human resource services, health benefits management, workers’ compensation and 401(k) management, as well as risk management and regulatory compliance, for over 2,000 local businesses representing 35,000 employees statewide. It is accredited by the Employer Services Assurance Corporation (ESAC).

ProService is headquartered on Oahu at 6600 Kalanianaole Hwy., Ste. 200, Honolulu HI 96825. Additional offices are located in Kona, Kahului and Kapaa. Telephone: (808) 466-1296. On the web at

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