Transportation Building custodian Pacita Asuncion, who is a former client in a kupuna employment program, was named Maui Economic Opportunity Employee of the Month.
A mother of five and grandmother of nine, Pacita was born in Bacarra, Ilocos Norte, the Philippines, and moved to Maui to live with her daughter and family in August 2014. Through a friend, she learned about MEOʻs Senior Community Service Employment Service Program and joined the program in November 2014.
“I feel Pacita exhibits great teamwork because she diligently takes care of our breakroom, restrooms and outside areas of our office,” said fellow worker Kathryn Moniz. “She’s a definite asset to our team because we can rely on her to be here ready to go with a smile and a friendly hello. She is an excellent example of how we all should approach our duties.”
For being named Employee of the Month for April, Pacita earned a $150 check and an extra vacation day. She was honored at MEO’s General Staff meeting May 31. Kathryn received $50 as the nominator.
The Senior Community Service Employment Service Program was established by the federal Older American Act for income eligible seniors, 55 years or older, who are unemployed. Priority is given to veterans and qualified spouses and persons with disabilities and those with limited literacy and English language proficiency and at-risk for homelessness or who are homeless.
Participants work an average of 20 hours a week and are paid the state minimum wage. Program training and work experience serve as a bridge to a regular paying job.
Pacita was referred by the Senior Community Service Employment Service Program for the part-time position in Transportation in October 2018. She said she enjoys working for MEO because she said her bosses and co-workers are nice, compassionate, helpful and respectful, and because of the benefits and the safe working environment.