On March 28, 2023, we joined ClimbHI in hosting the 11th annual LEI program on Maui. Explained best by Julie Morikawa, President of ClimbHI, “LEI” is a project to inspire Hawaiʻi's youth to select careers in the Hawaiʻi visitor industry by providing them with the necessary means to achieve success. From the student's perspective, LEI represents an opportunity for Leadership, Exploration, and Inspiration, and from the hospitality industry’s perspective, LEI provides an opportunity to Lead, Expose, and Inspire Hawaiʻi's youth. LEI takes place on four different islands (Maui, Oʻahu, Kauaʻi, and the Big Island), to include around 1,000 high school and college students from across the state, and over 100 businesses.
Maui’s program invited all Maui County public high schools to participate, and 130 students attended the all day event at the Fairmont Kea Lani. Guest speakers included:
Students then divided into groups and were sent throughout the different Wailea hotels for an overview of the hotel industry including a dining etiquette piece for lunch and housekeeping skills. After lunch at each of their assigned hotels, students returned to Fairmont Kea Lani for a speed-dating style Career Fair to expose them to the variety of roles in the hospitality industry and post-secondary education opportunities. High school and college students rotated for ten-minute sessions followed by a one-minute transition.
MHLA set up an educational type of booth giving perspecitive of all the different avenues within the hospitality industry. Our booth had a simple interactive survey component of which students tossed a puff ball into the labled vase representing their wanted direction in the industry. At the end of the day, the top career interests were:
Interestingly, the least amount of interest were of the fields in Finance, Engineering and IT. Many students expressed their want to come back to Maui after an experience off island, while some were already in the UH Maui programs and happy to have more opportunities on island.
As noted in other press, MHLA has sponsored ClimbHI's e-Cornell Certificate of Excellence program in addition to the the LEI Program and proudly featured one of their success stories in our Faces of Aloha Campaign. We are so proud of our upcoming workforce and we hope to share more success stories from our ClimbHI collaboration!
Photo Credits: MHLA.