The Hawaiian Telcom Blog

Building The HIDOE’s ‘Ohana Help Desk

By Jordan Silva on Sep 1, 2020 1:28:41 PM

Tags: Community, News, IT Solutions, Residential/Consumer, COVID-19

In early August, the Hawai‘i Department of Education (HIDOE) announced that it had partnered with Hawaiian Telcom to create the ‘Ohana Help Desk, a first-of-its-kind, statewide technical help desk to support public school students and their families with remote learning efforts.

The ‘Ohana Help Desk, reachable by calling 643-DESK (3375), can assist callers with connectivity-related issues (network and WiFi), access and security issues, as well as device and general IT support. In addition to answering calls, agents also respond to online chat.

This ambitious collaboration was a success in so many ways. The HIDOE had an amazing vision for the ‘Ohana Help Desk, and as their technology partner, it was our job to turn that vision into a reality. Throughout the process, our team worked with multiple partners and resources to create a full-service solution that meets the needs of the students of Hawai‘i’s more than 250 public schools.

An important element of the HIDOE’s vision was ensuring that the technical support was user-friendly. Knowing that family members – parents and grandparents – may be the ones who reach out for assistance, especially for younger keiki, the ‘Ohana Help Desk has technical staff who can speak languages most commonly spoken in Hawaiʻi households – English, Hawaiian, Ilokano, Tagalog, Chuukese and Marshallese.

One of the best parts about building the ‘Ohana Help Desk was creating 20 new jobs at a time when so many local residents are seeking employment. Our priority was to build a team that delivers exceptional customer service. It was important for us to find people who had the right technical skills as well as empathy and aloha spirit.

Although the start of the school year was delayed, the ‘Ohana Help Desk began taking calls on August 4 as planned to help our students get a running start to prepare for remote learning during this very confusing time of constant change. Now that all public schools are open, our team manages hundreds of calls ranging from questions like “Why won’t the sound work in my WebEx meeting?” to “Which form do I need to fill out for online registration?”

We’re proud to support the HIDOE in realizing their vision of offering technical assistance and needed guidance to students and their families as they experience a new way of learning during the COVID-19 pandemic. The ‘Ohana Help Desk is ready to assist local families with getting their kids connected to the education they deserve.

The ‘Ohana Help Desk hours are Monday through Friday, from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., and on Sundays, from 4 to 8 p.m. The help desk is closed on Saturdays and on state holidays; however, it is accessible online 24/7 for self-service support and information at

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Jordan Silva is senior manager of consulting services operations at CBTS. Reach him at

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