Since the Bridge’s launch in December 2020, more than 420 Hawaii businesses and nonprofit organizations have helped 32,000 elementary, intermediate and high school students at 150 schools statewide through over 350 events and thousands of volunteer hours in an unprecedented public-private partnership. Across the state all districts have accepted events across each opportunity category available on the Bridge.
Last year, ClimbHI Bridge strengthened its educator training and expanded the portal’s features, while building greater participation from businesses and organizations statewide. Nearly 3,200 educators are using the portal.
Momentum continues to build – in January 2022 alone, 179 events have been accepted through the Bridge, accounting for nearly one-third of the total from 2021 in just one month. More than 20,000 students are projected to be reached by these engagements.
“Too many students in Hawaii do not finish high school, and too few secure a post-secondary education or pursue a particular career path,” said ClimbHI President Julie Morikawa. “ClimbHI Bridge connects students with working professionals in a meaningful way, motivating students to think about—and plan for—their futures. Mahalo to the businesses, organizations and educators who are improving social capital and economic self-sufficiency for our keiki.”
In 2021, top-participating businesses and organizations donated hundreds of hours in events, student mentorships and internships, including Hawaiian Mission Houses Historic Site and Archives, Residence Inn by Marriott Oahu Kapolei, Hawaii Business Magazine and Hawaiian Electric Company, Inc. In total, The Queen’s Health Systems, YMCA of Honolulu, Bank of Hawaii and HMSA accepted 61 events last year. Geraldine Valencia of James Campbell High School, Melody Yoshimoto of Waipahu Intermediate School, Liz Guerrero of Radford High School and Fern White of OCID CTE made the most connections with businesses in 2021.
“Our educators and students greatly benefit from the accessibility of real-world connections to our state’s top businesses and organizations,” Hawai‘i State Department of Education Interim Superintendent Keith Hayashi said. “This innovative tool has helped our students to build on their college and career readiness while also addressing our state’s critical workforce development needs.”
ClimbHI Bridge is a first-of-its-kind online portal that makes it easy for educators to connect with businesses through real-world opportunities. This includes:
- Guest speakers and teachers
- Site visits and other events
- Job shadowing
- Project-based learning
- Career fair and job readiness activities
- Judges and coaches
- Scholarships and awards
- Materials and resources
“The ClimbHI Bridge tool has been such an easy-to-use system. In 2021 we had around 30 different requests, and already over 10 requests in January 2022,” said Kazu Hayashida, Workforce Planning Manager, The Queen’s Health Systems. “It is so easy to put up the opportunities that we are looking for and to connect with these individuals.”
Participating businesses, associations and nonprofit organizations are encouraged to log on to the free ClimbHI Bridge portal and post opportunities for students and teachers, including internships, project-based learning, events and careers – all in just a few minutes. Teachers can easily search for guest speakers and send requests for class involvement, career fair participation, site visits and job-readiness activities.
Support for ClimbHI Bridge is provided by the Hawai‘i Executive Collaborative, which has committed to funding the program for five years. ClimbHI Bridge was conceived at the 2018 Hawai‘i Executive Conference.
About ClimbHI: Founded in 2009, the Hawaii-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit ClimbHI seeks to inspire students to finish high school and proceed to post-secondary education or employment by exposing them to future career paths and the steps necessary to achieve those goals. For more, visit climbhi.org.