ClimbHI Hosts 150 Students for Maui Workforce Event

By Maui Now
April 6, 2024

Hawaiʻi workforce development nonprofit ClimbHI partnered with the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority (HTA) and the Fairmont Kea Lani, Maui, as well as dozens of Maui businesses and organizations, to host its annual Leadership, Exploration, Inspiration (LEI) program on Maui on Thursday. The free daylong program was held at the Fairmont Kea Lani and included participation by major hotels in the Wailea-Makena area, providing exposure to a variety of careers.

More than 150 high school and college students from across Maui participated in a fast-paced schedule of activities, with on-site visits to the Fairmont Kea Lani, Four Seasons Resort Maui, Wailea Beach Resort, Hotel Wailea, CoralTree Hospitality, Residence Inn Maui Wailea, and AC Hotel by Marriott Maui Wailea.

LEI is a workforce development initiative to inspire Hawaiʻi youth to select careers in the Hawaiʻi hospitality industry by providing them with the necessary means to achieve success. The Maui LEI program kicks off a series of statewide LEI events, including:

LEI Hawai‘i Island from April 9-10 at The Westin Hapuna Beach Resort, LEI Kaua‘i on April 16 at the Sheraton Kauaʻi Resort.
LEI Oʻahu on April 22 at the Hawai‘i Convention Center.
More than 1,000 students and 100 businesses are expected to participate in the program’s 12th year. In 2023 LEI hosted nearly 725 students from 31 high schools and seven colleges, with 35 hotel visits and 119 Exposure Fair participants.

“Inspiring Hawai‘i’s students by showing them firsthand the multitude of career possibilities and pathways to success in our visitor industry right here at home is critically important to our work at HTA,” said Mufi Hannemann, HTA Board Chair. “Our partnership with ClimbHI and the LEI program helps us strengthen our state’s No. 1 economic driver for generations to come and motivates our kamaʻāina to contemplate pursuing a career in hospitality, travel and tourism.”

Students engaged industry leaders and participated in activities that showcased opportunities for career development and growth in the hospitality industry and beyond. The event included involvement from State Sen. Lynn DeCoite, Senate Energy, Economic Development, and Tourism Committee Chair, and Hannemann, as well as representatives from Maui County. Fairmont Kea Lani 2023 Leader of the Year Crystal Lane, Talent and Culture Training Manager, was the keynote speaker.

In the afternoon ClimbHI Exposure Fair, students networked with over 45 businesses and organizations. This year’s LEI theme is “Hawai‘i Strong” and recognizes more than 100 students statewide who participated in disaster response training under the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Program organized by ClimbHI in October following the Maui wildfires.

“Providing students with meaningful opportunities to connect with leaders, ask questions, and gain perspective into the hospitality industry is increasingly important in helping to develop a greater understanding of the diverse career paths available to them,” said Michael Pye, Regional Vice President, Fairmont Hawaiʻi and General Manager, Fairmont Kea Lani. “We are honored to have hosted ClimbHI’s LEI event for the second consecutive year, serving as a conduit for connection between our industry and students, inspiring a new generation of leaders in Hawai‘i.”

Partners also included Maui County, the Maui Hotel & Lodging Association, Hawaii Department of Education, Mana Kai Maui, and Polynesian Adventure Tours. University of Hawai‘i Maui College students also earned credit for helping plan and lead the event.

“Each year our keiki continue to build valuable connections in the hospitality industry and beyond at LEI events, creating access to high-quality career opportunities for all students in Hawai‘i,” said ClimbHI President Julie Morikawa. “Mahalo to the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority, our participating businesses and organizations, and volunteers for their continued support of this program in its 12th year.”

ClimbHI is inviting teachers, businesses, associations and nonprofit organizations to sign up for the free ClimbHI Bridge online portal for workforce development and classroom engagement opportunities, volunteer hour tracking and communication tools, and more. This portal is used by hundreds of schools and businesses statewide, reaching nearly 200,000 students since it was launched in 2021.

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Hawaii preserves the island in means of taking care of their people and those who wish to experience the true meaning of aloha. Over time, Hawaii eventually became the most desirable destination to visit, putting the hospitality and tourism as the leading industry on each of the islands. ClimbHI’s effort to promote jobs to local Continue Reading

Sheralyn Soliven University of Hawaii, Maui College April 28, 2017

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