Workforce Development

A skilled and competitive workforce is essential for a successful visitor destination.

Workforce Development

Encouraging Hawaii’s high school and college-age students to choose tourism as their career is an important part of HTA’s mission.

Sustaining tourism success depends on the young people of Hawaii helping carry the industry forward and becoming the next generation of leaders. HTA is helping support programs that show Hawaii’s youth they can have a career where their energy, insight, and opinions are needed to help move the state forward.

HTA supports the L.E.I. (Leadership, Exploration, Inspiration) Program on Oahu, Maui, Kauai and the island of Hawaii, which brings 1,000 teens from throughout the state in direct contact with hotels, businesses, and tourism industry leaders. In the program, the future engages the present.

HTA also offers support with certification and training programs to help elevate the current industry workforce development through the University of Hawaii’s community college system.

Providing a Pathway for Hawaii’s Youth

The HTA has partnered with the Department of Education’s Career & Technical Education program to support career pathways.  In 2020, HTA will be supporting training of teachers in hospitality service training and providing high school students with certificates once training is completed.    

The HTA has also partnered with ClimbHI, a local non-profit organization to inspire Hawaii’s youth to pursue careers in the Hawaii visitor industry through the LEI (Lead, Expose, Inspire) Program.  LEI is an annual event held in every April comprising of a morning session of inspiration and leadership through guest speakers and Hawaiian culture and hospitality training, a mid-day site visit to a lodging property for an overview of the lodging sector including a dining etiquette piece for lunch, and an afternoon career fair to expose students to the variety of career options and opportunities in the visitor industry. LEI 2020 takes place on four different islands (Maui, Oahu, Kauai, and Hawaii Island), including over 1000 students from over 40 high schools across the state, and involving over 100 businesses.

Hawaii Tourism Hooilina Scholarships

Hawaii Tourism Hooilina Scholarships are awarded to college-bound public Hawaii high school seniors based on demonstrated academic achievement, leadership skills and an expressed interest in pursuing a hospitality, tourism or culinary education and career; or community college students who are Hawaii residents, graduated from a Hawaii public high school, completed their associates degree in hospitality, tourism, or culinary, and are transferring into the junior academic school year.  The purpose of this scholarship is to support kids raised in Hawaii to have an executive management level career in our visitor industry.

In 2019, ten public high school graduates who selected to major in the tourism/hospitality field received four-year college scholarship. 

The applications deadline for the 2020/2021 academic year to the University of Hawaii at Manoa, Shidler College of Business, School of Travel Industry Management and University of Hawai‘i West O‘ahu is now closed.  Check back in Fall 2021 for applications for the 2021/2022 academic year. 

Providing Training Opportunities for Hawaii’s Workforce

To address industry’s changing needs in workforce training, the HTA has also worked with educational institutions to make training available for the current workforce to help enhance service skills and quality.  HTA has partnered with University of Hawaii’s Kapiolani Community College, Maui College, Kauai Community College, and Hawaii Community College to reinforce customer service industry standards and expectations.  The community colleges offer trainings to obtain a certificate of professional development in customer service in Hawaii in addition to a certification for Hawaii’s professional tour guides.  For more information on the program visit here.

HTA sponsored the Campaign for a Safer Community, an initiative to combat sex trafficking in partnership with Hoola Na Pua, a Hawaii nonprofit working against sex trafficking.  The group says sex traffickers often take advantage of the privacy and anonymity accessible through the hospitality industry. Four symposiums were held across the state in November 2019.  The half-day symposiums were aimed at empowering Hawaii’s visitor industry management, but everyone who wants to take a stand against trafficking was welcome to attend.  A little over 300 from the visitor industry and community attended.  If you are interested in training your organization on this issue, please contact Hoola Na Pua

Maemae - Cultural Hawaiian Toolkit

To help market Hawaii authentically, browse through a resource of Hawaiian language tools, style and information guides, cultural activities and festivals, and other pertinent information.

See the Maemae Toolkit

Digital Asset Library

Register to access the Knowledge Bank, a public resource of images related to Hawaii and tourism-related activities.

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Community Programs

Initiatives that help Hawaii provide an experience that is unique and enriching, while valuing and perpetuating Hawaii’s natural and cultural resources and honoring its people and heritage.

See Kukulu Ola Program

See Aloha Aina Program 

See the Community Enrichment Program 


Read the latest announcements that provide up-to-date information about current HTA's programs, events and activities.

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