Ka Lima may be best known for its landscaping and janitorial services program, which has been going strong since the 1960s and now employs more than sixty-five men and women through annual contracts with private businesses and County and Federal governments. In any given week, crews work at more than eighty locations—from parks to beaches to office buildings—islandwide. It may be the most visible operation, but the nonprofit also helps its clients climb other career ladders: Through its job placement and retention program, Ka Lima carefully considers the abilities and interests of each new client, matches him or her to a suitable workplace, and checks in regularly to make sure everything is going smoothly.
Not every client’s dream has a dream job to match, but Ka Lima can come pretty close.
One client said he wanted to be a rock star. With Ka Lima’s help, he’s now in his element working at a music store. Another job seeker said he’d like to be a pilot; today he’s cleaning airplanes at Kahului Airport and relishing the experience.
“If they come here with a big dream, we can tap into it,” Chantal says.
For clients with developmental disabilities, Ka Lima offers training in basic (and not-so-basic) living skills—which run the gamut from computer literacy to interpersonal communication to cooking classes—as part of its Medicaid Waiver program. Matt Wanderscheid signed up for the program not long after moving to Maui from Washington State in 2011, and says it was a game-changer. The best part? “It helped me get my driver’s license,” he grins.