Shopping For New Skills

By Sheri Sakamoto
President of Retail Merchants of Hawaii

In July 2013, I joined Retail Merchants of Hawaii as president, and in the year since, one of the most frequent questions I get asked is, “What do you want to accomplish?”

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(from left) Sheri Sakamoto, Pam Dodson, Dan Herbert and Ina Chang
PHOTO COURTESY RETAIL MERCHANTS OF HAWAII

Naturally, there are many things I want to get done, but one priority is education — educating our community to understand the importance of Hawaii’s retail industry and how it impacts our economy, and educating our retailers to build knowledge and capacity.

By educating our community and retailers, I believe we can grow a key component of our economy — an industry that is the largest single generator of general excise tax — our retail industry.

With close to 25 percent of the state’s workforce employed by the retail industry, many individuals are impacted by the state of sales. As development grows within the state, the needs of our local retailers are equally evolving.

We are committed to meeting those needs by providing networking opportunities and legislative lobbying, as well as educational and training programs.

This fall, thanks to a $125,000 grant from the state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations, we are rolling out a new training program developed by LearningBiz, specifically tailored to retail professionals.

The training program will take place over the course of the next year and focus on two core areas: workforce development, and talent-management and business-optimization training.

Our Oahu trainings will be conducted on the following dates:

* Oct. 9
* Oct. 30
* Nov. 6
* Nov. 20

Please visit rmhawaii.org for additional training dates and Neighbor Island information.

I believe that through education — like this training program and other projects that Retail Merchants of Hawaii offers — our local retailers will be empowered and armed with the tools they need to grow and succeed.