Maui News

ClimbHI LEI program welcomes 130 students in daylong career event on Maui

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ClimbHI’s Leadership, Exploration, Inspiration (LEI) program. PC:

Hawaiʻi workforce development nonprofit ClimbHI, held its Leadership, Exploration, Inspiration (LEI) program on Maui, Friday. The free daylong program at the Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa included participation from more than 130 high school and college students.

The fast-paced schedule of activities included an “Amazing Race”-style competition, where students moved through multiple stations to learn about various careers from participating Hawaiʻi businesses.

“We were so pleased to provide in-person learning opportunities again for our LEI program participants in celebration of our 10th year of LEI events,” said ClimbHI President Julie Morikawa. “LEI helps these students better understand the breadth of careers available in the hospitality industry and beyond.”


Students also participated in discussions on topics such as resident sentiment, the importance of the hospitality industry, and Hawaiʻi’s cultural values. They attended a luncheon followed by an afternoon career fair where they networked with local business professionals.

“The visitor industry offered me many opportunities to learn and explore, to meet people from around the world, and to build my skills under the mentorship of amazing leaders. It led to my role today, where I get to work with amazing people to Mālama Kuʻu Home – care for the home we all love,” said John De Fries, president and CEO of the Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority in a press release.

De Fries, who started his career as a tour director in his hometown of Waikīkī in the 1970s said, “The LEI program is an important partner for the Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority as we introduce the next generation of kamaʻāina leaders to the opportunities that await them in Hawaiʻi’s hospitality industry.”


The Maui LEI program is the second in a series of statewide events, including:

  • LEI O‘ahu on April 5;
  • LEI Kauaʻi on April 14 and
  • LEI Island of Hawaiʻi on April 26 and 27.

Hawaiʻi businesses and organizations are encouraged to participate in LEI events, which are sponsored by the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority. More information is available via email at [email protected].

In addition, ClimbHI is inviting businesses, associations and nonprofit organizations to sign up for the ClimbHI Bridge online portal. This free portal provides opportunities for students and teachers, including guest speaking, career fair participation, mentorships, and much more.


ClimbHI was founded in 2009. The Hawaiʻi-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit 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.


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