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Nearly 1,400 Students Complete ClimbHi Service Certification in First Two Years

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Hawai’i workforce development nonprofit ClimbHI runs a Department of Education hospitality program to help high school students be more prepared when they enter the workforce. Courtesy: ClimbHi

A Hawai’i nonprofit that partners with Cornell University and helps high school students prepare for the workforce is looking for sponsors for the spring semester, after experiencing a record number of student certifications this past fall.

ClimbHI reached nearly 1,400 public high school students in the first two years of its Service Excellence Certificate program for the Hawaiʻi Department of Education Career and Technical Education Hospitality Pathway, ClimbHi announced Tuesday.

This fall, businesses and organizations sponsored hundreds of certificates so students throughout the state could enroll and complete the program at no additional cost. Additional sponsorship opportunities will be available for next semester, which begins in January.


Launched in January 2020 by ClimbHI with funding from the Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority, the Service Excellence Certificate helps graduates be more workforce ready. Sponsorships have helped students from 21 schools statewide.

“This holiday season as we complete our largest semester of the Service Excellence Certificate program, we encourage Hawaiʻi businesses, organizations and hospitality leaders to support the next generation as they take their first steps in hospitality education,” said Julie Morikawa, president and founder of ClimbHI. “This program showcases what we can accomplish under a successful public-private partnership.”

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 Hawaiʻi Revised Statutes (HRS 5-7.5).

Fall 2021 sponsors included:

  • Prince Resorts;
  • Hawai‘i Lodging & Tourism Association;
  • Kā‘anapali Ocean Resort;
  • Charitable Trust;
  • Mauna Kea Resort;
  • Residence Inn by Marriott in Kapolei;
  • Koloa Landing Resort at Poipu;
  • Marriott Ko Olina Beach Club;
  • The Ritz-Carlton Residences Waikiki Beach;
  • Highgate; and
  • Waikīkī Beach Marriott Resort & Spa.

For additional information on the Service Excellence Certificate program, or to sponsor student certificates, e-mail [email protected] All high schools statewide are eligible and encouraged to submit sponsorship requests now by e-mailing [email protected]

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