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Promoting Career Development Opportunities to Hawaii's Youth

This year marked the fourth year that the HTA partnered with ClimbHI, a local non-profit organization, to support its LEI (Leadership Exploration, Inspiration) career development program, which provides high school students with an opportunity to learn about viable career options in the hospitality industry. 

More than 800 high school students statewide participated in the one-day program held on Tuesday, April 7 on Maui and on Friday, April 10 on Oahu, Kauai and Hawaii Island. More than 75 industry partners participated in the morning sessions, hotel site inspections and career fairs on each island with more than 40 volunteers donating their time for either day, in addition to all of the hotel staff that donated their time during the hotel visits.  

“Introducing students to many varieties of career options is an important step in attracting the best and the brightest to tourism, which helps sustain and enhance the visitor industry,” said Jadie Goo, HTA tourism brand manager responsible for career development. “The HTA is committed to supporting career development programs like these that provide education and training opportunities and we encourage industry partners to participate and engage with our local youth.” 

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

“LEI’s success is attributed to the support from the visitor industry with its strong commitment to Hawaii’s greatest competitive advantage – the people,” 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 at


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