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Growing Hospitality Career Opportunities for Hawaii's Youth

The HTA has partnered with ClimbHI, a local non-profit organization, to support its 2nd Annual Hospitality Career Development LEI (Leadership Exploration, Inspiration) program, which provides high school students with an opportunity to learn about viable career options in the hospitality industry.

After just one year, the LEI program has expanded statewide reaching a total of 570 high school students from every island, who attended the events on Maui or Oahu. The Maui event was held on Wednesday, April 3 at the Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa and included 120 student participants from three Maui high schools, 12 student mentors from Maui Community College, and over 30 industry partners. The Oahu program was held on Friday, April 5 at the Hawaii Convention Center and included 450 students from 16 high schools on Oahu, Hawaii Island, Kauai, Lanai, Molokai and Niihau and 50 student mentors from the University of Hawaii TIM School, Hawaii Pacific University, and Kapiolani Community College. Over 60 industry partners participated in the hotel exposure and career fair with over 25 volunteers donating their time for the entire day. 

“The LEI program offers an opportunity to introduce Hawaii’s youth to career paths in the tourism industry beyond the bell desk, housekeeping, retail or restaurant,” said Jadie Goo, HTA tourism brand manager in charge of career development. “The HTA is committed to supporting career development programs like these that provide education and training opportunities to attract the best and brightest and continually enhance our visitor industry workforce.”

The day-long programs included leadership, hospitality and cultural training workshops, followed by a business etiquette luncheon and operations inspections at various hotels in Kaanapali and Waikiki. The event ended with a hospitality college and career fair.

“Expanding LEI to include high school students all across Hawaii is a core value for ClimbHI and it would not have been possible without the Hawaii Tourism Authority and the generous support of our many hotel partners and others like Roberts Hawaii, Go! Airlines, Expedia Inc, Hawaiian Airlines, ClearlyM and Polynesian Adventure Tours,” said Julie Morikawa, founder and CEO of ClimbHI.

The LEI program is an annual event that will continue to expand and benefit more students and businesses throughout the state. For more information or to get involved with the LEI program, please contact Julie Morikawa here.


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