John Arnold who helped MEO set up business & farmworker programs visits Maui

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September 23, 2022

John Arnold, who helped Maui Economic Opportunity establish its business development and migrant farmworker programs, brought staff and board members from his Arizona-based nonprofit to Maui last week and met with local nonprofits, businesses and government agencies.

Arnold is the CEO and founder of Portable Practical Educational Preparation, which operates educational, behavioral health, human services, and employment and training programs for youth, adults and persons with disabilities. PPEP also has a microbusiness and housing development corporation, which provides services to small businesses in the U.S. and internationally.

PPEP has been a resource for MEO through the years.

As a brand new executive director for MEO in 1984, Gladys Baisa said she met Arnold at her first national farmworkers’ meeting. MEO was building its transportation department and Arnold, whose organization runs a transportation system, offered PPEP’s expertise and experience.

“He helped me bring the Hispanic workers to save pineapple in 1990,” she said. “He did all the work that was needed to recruit and keep them here. He was an integral part of all our Hispanic efforts and connections.”

MEO continues to run the National Farmworker Jobs Program in Hawaii, which supports farmworkers and their families to improve their lives and the farms that employ them with training and subsidies.

Arnold also played a role in MEO establishing the Business Development Center, which provides microloans to small businesses unable to secure conventional financing, business planning and budgeting classes and grants to farms and start-up companies.

During their visit, Arnold and his group visited two BDC microloan businesses, Malama Studios and GJ’s Fishing Tackle and Supply; MEO; Maui County American Jobs Center; Maui Economic and Development Board; Hale Mahaolu and J. Walter Cameron Center.

Arnold’s wife, Nayaa, gave a presentation on diabetes to a Maui Planning and Coordinating Council group of kupuna.

Other members of Arnold’s team included board members Edgar Granillo and Walt Pearson and staffers Pattie Mendoza and Tamera Conley.

“He is a real hero to many worldwide,” said Baisa. “John is a great humanitarian who is very humble and will die helping others. He is a brilliant leader and knows how to bring people together to make something good happen.”


John Arnold, CEO and founder of Portable Practical Educational Preparation, visited Maui with a group of board members and staff. Arnold and PPEP have served as a resource for Maui Economic Opportunity, especially in business development, farmworker and transportation programs.


John Arnold and members of his nonprofit Portable Practical Educational Preparation on Monday visited Malama Studios, which received a Maui Economic Opportunity microloan. Malama Studios is owned by Veronica Isabelle Graf (right).


The PPEP delegation made a trip Monday to GJ’s Fishing Tackle and Supply, a client of MEO’s Business Development Center. Owner Glen Goya stands in the front of the photo.


MEO CEO Debbie Cabebe hosted John Arnold and his team from PPEP on Monday at MEO in Wailuku.

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