Free social media and tech classes available for small businesses

A series of free social media and business technology classes are available in Waimea, Kona and Hilo in Aug. and Sept. as part of an initiative to increase and improve skills in Hawaii Island’s workforce.

Sponsored by Hawaii Tech Works and Hawaii Workforce Economic Development Ohana (HIWEDO), the classes were made possible by a grant from Hawaii State Department of Labor and Industrial Relations to provide workforce development training to small businesses.

“The classes are designed for business owners and their employees to learn new tools that support business growth, efficiency, and customer relationships,” says Anthony Marzi, president and founder of Hawaii Tech Works.

Noting that technology in today’s business climate is rapidly changing, Marzi points out that it can be frustrating and expensive for business owners when they can not find workers with requisite job skills.

“Many of these capabilities didn’t even exist a few years ago. It’s a constant effort for companies to stay competitive, but it pays off,” he says.

HIWEDO is a private non-profit established in 2005 to increase workforce development system for the County of Hawaii.

As part of the grant, 51 different classes are offered ranging from social media branding and using WordPress, to cloud accounting and building a mobile app for companies.

Marzi sees the classes as a natural extension of increasing technology related skills for Hawaii Island residents. “For example, when visitors can find local businesses on Yelp, or when businesses streamline their administrative workload with cloud services, everyone wins,” he says.

Waimea Classes in Aug. & Sept:

Free classes are offered in Waimea at Canada France Hawaii Telescope (CFHT). Beginning on Monday, August 17, the “Elements of a Good Website” class is from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. and “Increasing Productivity with Online Tools” from 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.

The following week, on Monday, Aug. 24, class themes are “Social Media Branding” from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. and “Maximizing Your Presence on LinkedIn” from 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.

On Tuesday, Sept. 15, Denise Laitinen, owner of DLC Hawaii Media, teaches “Intro to Cloud Accounting” from 9 to 11 a.m. and “The 12 Steps to Building Your First App” from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. CFHT is located at 65-1238 Mamalahoa Hwy.

Laitinen has organized several social media events on Hawaii Island in recent years and is a member of the Social Media Club Hawaii board of directors. She has taught social media classes at Hawaii Community College through their Office of Continuing Education and Training and provided training for Bishop Museum, Hawaii State House of Representatives, University of Hawaii, and other organizations.

Registration is required and seating is limited per class due to the in-depth, hands-on training each attendee receives. For a full list of social media and technology business classes offered in all locations through the FLEX IT program, go to For more information contact Stuart Kaneshiro at HIWEDO at 936-7145 or email [email protected].

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