LEI Program Overview

LEI is a HTA-sponsored workforce development project created and provided by ClimbHI to inspire Hawai‘i’s youth to select careers in the Hawai‘i visitor industry by providing them with the necessary means to achieve success. From the student’s perspective LEI represents an opportunity for Leadership, Exploration and Inspiration, and from the hospitality industry’s perspective LEI provides an opportunity to Lead, Expose, and Inspire Hawaii’s youth. The program began in 2012 with 300 Hawaii high school students spending a day learning about the hospitality industry and the value of graduating from high school and going on to pursue a post-secondary education. During the course of the day’s program the students meet, learn, and experience job opportunities that the hospitality industry can provide. Students also receive advice on filling out job/college applications, resumes, personal finance, and support resources. Over the course of the last 3 years the program has continued to grow and in April 2015, ClimbHI and the Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) will kick off the 4th annual LEI program for over 800 high school students across the state. LEI 2015 will take place on four different islands (Maui, Oahu, Kauai, and the Big Island) and involve over 75 businesses, 100 college mentors, and 70 volunteers.

Example of LEI Schedule for Oahu

  • 9:15am-10:30am: Hawaii Convention Center- Leadership and inspiration through guest speakers and Hawaiian culture/sense of place trainings
  • 10:45am-2pm: Hotels in Waikiki- Students will be divided into groups and sent to different hotels for an overview of the hotel industry including a dining etiquette piece for lunch
  • 2pm-3:30pm: Students return to the Hawaii Convention Center for a career fair to expose them to the variety of roles in the hospitality industry and post-secondary educational opportunities.

Strong connections made with students:

“This is my second year participating and I certainly have gained so much knowledge and views from the experiences you have given me. It was great to be able to attend and befriend students of other schools as well as meet the staff at the beautiful Royal Hawaiian Hotel, and the Hawaii Convention Center.
The words you spoke of at the last year’s convention, “L.E.I. is not a program! Leadership Exploration and Inspiration are things that you should carry with you in life,” have stayed with me till this day and will continue to try and exemplify these characteristics.” –Student from James Campbell High School

“When I saw Tihati’s Productions and Germaine’s Lu’aū, I knew that people become successful in what they love to do- making it not seem like a typical, normal job. After seeing how people can make a living off of Tahitian and Polynesian dancing, I took it into consideration on adding this job into my future plans for myself. Like any other goal that people set up, I know that if I put in hard work and determination into dancing, I know that someday, I can be a professional dancer.” –Student from Kauai High School.

“The one thing that I most enjoyed about the program was the actual tour of the hotel. I felt that by having that inside access and seeing the entire behind the scenes operations of the hotel, we were able to gain a better sense of the hotel’s system and how each department contributes to the success of the hotel. It was also very intriguing to see how each department contained a certain type of personality profile; it was nice to see everyone happy with their job because it suited their personality and it was reassuring to know that there are jobs that can match your personality type.” –Student from Mililani High School

To get a glimpse of LEI click here to view a short video.

If you’d like to volunteer or get involved, please contact Julie@climbhi.org


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