Alaska Airlines Supports Development of Home-Grown Leaders Through ClimbHI’s LEI Program

By HI Now Daily
October 18, 2019

Helping Hawaii’s high school and college students prepare for their future careers.
Sponsored by Alaska Airlines
In a companywide effort to give back and invest in Hawaii’s communities, Alaska Airlines is celebrating a “Week of LIFT” from October 11 – 19. One of the many organizations Alaska supports is ClimbHI and the LEI Program. HI Now host Jobeth Devera is with Julie Morikawa and Denden Ilan to learn more.

The LEI program has an 8-year history in Hawaii. With a focus on career development, it stands for leadership, exploration, and inspiration. Originally, the program started as a day-long event that has grown statewide to include over 1,000 high school and college students from all islands, including Niihau.

While the program continues to grow and expand each year, it just recently launched the ClimbHI Opportunity Portal, which connects businesses, students, and educators through an online portal.

While there are many success stories that come out of the LEI Program, Denden Ilan is just one great example. She had been involved with ClimbHI as a participant since she was a junior at Waipahu High School. Once she started attending Hawaii Pacific University, she became an alakai and later became an intern.

“I’ve been coming back ever since finishing my internship with them,” Ilan says. “It’s because of all the great experiences that I’ve had with them that I wanted to be able to come back and give back especially as I grow in the tourism industry.”

Thanks to partnerships and support from businesses like Alaska Airlines, ClimbHI is available to students and teacher for free.

“It’s really through true aloha spirit, and it’s through the partnerships that we have with the whole community, really,” Morikawa says. “We can’t do it without the support of businesses like Alaska Airlines. Not only do they provide financial support, but they come out and help with the career fairs and they really get involved with the program.”

Businesses, educators, and students can all take part in the LEI program and the ClimbHI Opportunity Portal. For more information, email

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