LEI Program Aims to Attract Students to Hawaii’s Tourism Industry

By The Business Journals | Pacific Blog

The Hawaii Tourism Authority has teamed up with local nonprofit called ClimbHI on a new work-force development project aimed at getting more high school students on track for a career in Hawaii’s visitor industry.

The program, called LEI, launches Wednesday.

As part of the program, approximately 300 Hawaii high school students from economically disadvantaged families will participate in an all-day session that includes stops at the Hawaii Convention Center and Waikiki hotels.

There they’ll learn basics such as filling out college and job applications, as well as get an overview of the ins and outs of visitor industry jobs, of which there are plenty.

As of last month, Hawaii had 107,800 jobs in the leisure and hospitality sector, according to the state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations.

But because the visitor industry as a whole touches everything from retail to transportation, that jobs count can be much higher.

“Hawaii’s tourism industry continuously needs qualified workers at all levels, so LEI is integral to the future success of the industry because it shows students firsthand that it is the people in the industry that create our destination’s greatest competitive advantage, the Aloha spirit,” Julie Morikawa, founder and CEO of ClimbHI, said in a statement.

More than 25 Hawaii travel and tour companies, hotels and resorts, are participating in LEI.

“The HTA is committed to educating Hawaii’s youth and inspiring them to become a part of our largest industry, tourism,” said Mike McCartney, president and CEO of the HTA. “It is important for us to teach the next generation the importance of Hawaii’s top economic driver and provide them with an opportunity to explore the visitor industry as a viable career option.”

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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…

Sheralyn Soliven University of Hawaii, Maui College