Nonprofit ClimbHi Obtained Funding to Sponsor 233 Maui County Students

By Maui News | Maui Now
December 14, 2022

Maui County businesses and organizations have donated $18,500 to sponsor 233 high school students to earn Service Excellence Certificates through the Hawaiʻi workforce development nonprofit ClimbHI.

The Maui Visitors & Convention Bureau recently donated funding to sponsor 120 students participating in the program at King Kekaulike High School, in addition to sponsorships for the school by the Andaz Maui at Wailea Resort and Wailea Beach Resort – Marriott, Maui.

Other Maui County donations include sponsorships by the Maui Hotel & Lodging Association for students at Moloka‘i High & Intermediate School; The Ritz-Carlton Maui, Kapalua, for students at Lahainaluna High School and Lānaʻi High & Elementary School; and the Four Seasons Resort Maui for students at Maui High School.

In early December, ClimbHI connected King Kekaulike High School students with the University of Hawai‘i Maui College for a career day that included four hands-on workshops led by the college’s Culinary Arts program. Photo Courtesy: ClimbHI
“We are pleased to support this groundbreaking effort to provide enhanced hospitality education for students across Maui County,” said Sherry Duong, executive director of the Maui Visitors & Convention Bureau. “Having students complete high school with valuable training in hand is a win-win for our schools, businesses and communities.”

The Service Excellence Certificate, which is part of the Hawai‘i Department of Education Career and Technical Education program, has reached nearly 2,000 students in high schools statewide since its founding three years ago.

More than 445 Hawai‘i students have been sponsored at a cost of $79 per student this year, with Maui County making up more than half of the total.

“This program is made possible through successful public-private partnerships that provide a variety of opportunities for students at all high schools statewide,” said Julie Morikawa, president and founder of ClimbHI. “This holiday season, we encourage additional support for our students as they work to achieve the workforce training they need to be successful in their future careers.”

Demand for the Service Excellence Certificate has increased this year due ClimbHI’s new Hospitality for Me program, which was created in 2022 to connect schools with business leaders to bridge gaps and help enhance industry education opportunities as the Department of Education prepares to launch its new Hospitality, Tourism, and Recreation CTE pathway in 2023. This effort helps make hospitality education and job readiness a standard offering for students.

Through Hospitality for Me, ClimbHI is working with King Kekaulike High School to support more than 180 culinary program students with a variety of industry opportunities, including connecting them with University of Hawai‘i Maui College, Women in Lodging and the Maui Hotel and Lodging Association.

In early December, ClimbHI connected students with the University of Hawai‘i Maui College for a career day that included four hands-on workshops led by the college’s Culinary Arts program.

Launched in January 2020 by ClimbHI with funding from the Hawaii Tourism Authority, the Service Excellence Certificate helps graduates be more workforce ready. Businesses and organizations have generously sponsored certificates so students can enroll and complete the program with no additional cost.

Student training is provided across nine modules, which can be completed remotely. The curriculum was exclusively developed in partnership with the School of Hotel Administration at the Cornell SC Johnson College of Business, one of the leading hospitality administration programs in the world.

Upon completion of the program, students receive a Service Excellence Certificate of Achievement from Cornell University and ClimbHI. Courses cover skills development, managing customer interactions, and Aloha Spirit Law as outlined in the Hawaii Revised Statutes (HRS 5-7.5).

For additional information on the Service Excellence Certificate program, or to sponsor student certificates, e-mail All high schools statewide are eligible and encouraged to submit sponsorship requests.


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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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