Joy in The Journey with Kanela
It’s a story of triumph in the face of challenging odds. Hard work can pay off, as it has for Kanela.
Kanela Kamahalohanuilai is a 2012 Hawaii Job Corps graduate.“I would say I’m blessed because Job Corps did change my life.”
Kanela dropped out of high school, had three children, and was living on the streets, or in her case, the beach. A Hawaii Job Corps staff member reached out about the training program. “I was living on Waimanalo Beach with my kids when she said, ‘hey, you should go to Job Corps.’”
Kanela explained, “Job Corps gave me a platform to be empowered. They didn’t give me a handout they gave me a hand-up. They allowed me to learn on my own, as well as challenged me to go somewhere way farther.”
Kanela says she worked hard at Job Corps. She got her high school diploma, earned certifications in automotive repair, and started her new job at Sears in the auto repair department. Now ten years later, she has seven children, has had multiple career paths, earned two college associate degrees, a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts and counseling, and is about to complete her master’s degree in social work.
Kanela has taken on a new role as an ambassador/spokesperson for Job Corps. She loves explaining to anybody why Job Corps works. Recently she spoke to MTC Job Corps employees about recruiting and helping future students.
“Being a (Job Corps) ambassador allows me to have a platform to share my stories with employees, with alumni, with trainees, and those in my community. I feel the ambassador role will allow me to continue sharing my experiences and success stories. Also, I can share my struggle stories. I believe in Job Corps, and I believe in their mission. I believe in their whole narrative of not just giving a person a second chance but a second home. Or even a first home for those who don’t have a place to call home.”