Helping Teens Climb Higher

By Julie Morikawa| MidWeek
March 31, 2021

As a junior at Mililani High School, Raven Petersen attended her first Leadership, Exploration, Inspiration event, which was organized by Hawai‘i workforce development nonprofit ClimbHI. The connections she made inspired her to pursue a career in hospitality, and she graduated from the Kapi’olani Community College hospitality program, as well as Arizona State University.

“I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, and ClimbHI has helped me every step of the way in pursuing a career in the hospitality industry,” recalls Petersen, who works in a food and beverage management position on O’ahu.

Founded in 2011,

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.

In addition to organizing LEI events throughout Hawai‘i, which exposes high school students to potential careers, ClimbHI launched two major initiatives last year — a hospitality pathway certificate for the state Department of Education’s career and technical education program, and the ClimbHI Bridge portal.

The hospitality pathway certificate provides fundamental skills for employment in the hospitality industry and beyond with a curriculum developed in partnership with the School of Hotel Administration at the Cornell SC Johnson College of Business.

ClimbHI Bridge is an online portal that directly links students and teachers with career, internship and mentorship opportunities. More than 200 Hawai‘i businesses and nonprofits are currently offering over 200 opportunities to participating schools, helping more than 3,000 students — and counting.

This strong network of businesses is supporting students and teachers on all islands across the state. The coronavirus is forcing everyone to think differently about how we can ensure that Hawai‘i’s urban and rural students are prepared and skilled to fill jobs that pay living wages. By connecting businesses to schools, educators have the opportunity to expose students to careers and learn from professionals.

Businesses, associations and nonprofits in Hawai‘i are encouraged to visit or email to participate.

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