Maui Economic Opportunity (MEO) received a grant from the Construction Industry of Maui. Shown following the presentation of the $1,500 check are (from left): Gay Sibonga, MEO COO; Josh Berlien, chairman of the Construction Industry of Maui; Debbie Cabebe, MEO CEO; and Bishop Pahia, who leads the BEST (Being Empowered and Safe Together) program that helps recently released inmates reintegrate into the community (courtesy photo)

The Construction Industry of Maui trade group donated $1,500 to Maui Economic Opportunity for employment training programs, including the nonprofit’s effort to help reintegrate newly released inmates into the community.

The presentation was made at the trade group’s annual meeting on May 26 at the Mill House in Waikapū, where scholarships were presented to graduating high school seniors. This was the first year the group handed out a donation to a community organization.

The presentation was made to MEO CEO Debbie Cabebe, COO Gay Sibonga and Bishop Pahia, who runs the Being Empowered and Safe Together program, known by its acronym, BEST. The program provides support services and training to prepare inmates for a successful return to the community. MEO also provides a comprehensive range of services and training to assist low-income and legal permanent residents to prepare for employment and to help them maintain employment once hired.

The Construction Industry of Maui is a trade council of the Maui Chamber of Commerce and operates as an independent association under the Chamber.

“MEO is so thankful for the gift from the Construction Industry of Maui,” said Cabebe. “Our BEST clients often are released from jail or prison with only the things they brought in with them. No money. No housing. No jobs. This donation can help recently released inmates, who have paid their debt to society, find employment and hopefully, prevent them from reoffending.”

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The funds will supplement Maui County and state funding for employment service programs operated by MEO, she said.

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For more information about MEO job training programs, call 249-2970 or email [email protected]