Leilani Sniff, Marketing Intern at Kupu shares the company’s history:
Kupu was founded in 2007, and was developed in response to the growing needs of Hawaii’s communities to train up the next generation in natural resource management, renewable energy, energy conservation and other green job skill sets. Kupu is built on the Hawaiian concept of maka hana ka ike, which means “in working one learns.”
What’s it like to work for Kupu?
Leilani: Through our various Hawaii Youth Conservation Corp (HYCC) programs, youth are able to work to protect Hawaii’s fragile environment while gaining hands-on experience in the conservation field. The HYCC has three programs – Gateway, Frontiers, and the Extended Internship Program. The Gateway program is a seven week-long program designed for individuals interested in the environment, where participants work together in teams at different work sites across the island. The HYCC Frontiers program is for individuals who have previously completed the Gateway program and want a more in-depth experience with a specific worksite. Lastly, the Extended Internship Program is our most intensive experience, where interns work for a 10-11 month period at a worksite that best matches their interests.
Through our HYCC programs, interns are able to work in the most beautiful eco-systems of Hawaii while making a difference in the community. All of our internships provide participants with the skills they will need in the environmental job sector, educational awards (scholarship money) to go toward their higher education, and the opportunity to make connections with future employers. Many of our members also receive full-time job offers after completing their internships.
What are some interesting facts about Kupu?
Leilani: A few things -
- Kupu has given over $400,000 in education awards to members to use towards their higher education over the past year.
- Hawaii has had more endemic species go extinct than any other place in the world- and Kupu interns are working hard to protect the remaining critically endangered plants and animals
- Kupu in Hawaiian means “to sprout or to grow,” and the kupukupu fern is one of the first plants to grow after a devastating lava flow, which reflects Kupu’s heart to serve and bring life back to the land and community.