Academy of Hospitality and Tourism & Workforce Development

Scholarship Opportunities Now Available

2024 Member Scholarship Application (Click link for online application)

2024 AOHT & Hospitality Pathway Scholarship (Click link for online application)

Academy of Hospitality and Tourism

The Maui Hotel & Lodging Association believes that in order to support the health of local economy, we must invest energy and finances into our youth and those coming into potential, future, leadership positions. Our members and the visitor industry have partnered with UH Maui, high schools and training programs like ClimbHI to provide a strong support system for students and working adults to excel in career opportunities here on island. Some of such workforce programs are listed below.

Photo: Maui High School 2023 Scholarship Recipients

ClimbHI Collaborations

ClimbHI LEI Career Fair

LEI is a workforce development project designed to inspire Hawaii's youth to select careers in the Hawai‘i visitor industry. Maui’s program includes over 120 high school students and college students from 5 high schools throughout Maui, Molokaʻi, and Lanaʻi. The career fair exposes students to various roles in Hawaiʻi’s leading industries and post-secondary education opportunities. Our UH Maui College Hospitality Management collaborates with ClimbHI to put together the Career Fair for the Leadership, Exploration, and Inspiration (LEI) events.

ClimbHI Service Excellence Certificate

ClimbHI developed a Human Services (Business and Hospitality) Pathway On-Demand Certificate with Cornell University's School of Hotel Administration for high school students throughout the state under a contract with the Hawaii State Department of Education (DOE) and with support from the Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA). Over 1,500 students and teachers have achieved the certificates; MHLA sponsored 37 of those students from Molokai High.

Launched in January 2020, the Service Excellence Certificate of Achievement curriculum provides fundamental skills for employment in the hospitality industry and beyond. The training marries our unique philosophy for world-class service rooted in the Hawaiian culture with world-renowned hospitality education from Cornell University. The curriculum was exclusively developed in partnership with the School of Hotel Administration at the Cornell SJ Johnson College of Business, one of the leading hospitality administration programs in the world, for the DOE’s Career and Technical Education (CTE) program. Upon completion of the program’s 9 lessons, students receive a Service Excellence Certificate of Achievement from Cornell University and ClimbHI. The program served 683 students and teachers in its first year, and is currently available for DOE CTE students.

To receive the ClimbHI Service Excellence Certificate, the following online modules must be completed (each lesson will take up to 45 min to complete):

  • Aloha Spirit Lesson/Quiz
  • eCornell 8 modules

Upon completion, both the ClimbHI and Cornell University certificates will be made available to students electronically. For ways to be involved, email us at [email protected].


MHLA Scholarship Applications

2024 Member Scholarship Application (Click link for online application)

AOHT Scholarship Applications

2024 AOHT & Hospitality Pathway Scholarship (Click link for online application)


Baldwin High School
Lahainaluna High School
Maui High School

Photo Credit: Kumu Kaylee Amaral of KS Maui, 2023 Kamehameha School Maui Scholarship Recipients.

Maui’s Academy of Hospitality & Tourism


The first academy in Hawaii began in the early 1990’s at Lahainaluna High School funded by a one-time donation from Ka’anapali Beach Hotel. Because of its success, Maui High School and Baldwin also joined the program in 1994 & 1995 respectively. Currently, there are approximately 220 students enrolled in the AOHT programs in Baldwin, Lahainaluna and Maui High Schools.

Project Summary

The AOHT overall goal is to provide exposure to and to prepare a workforce for the visitor industry which is the primary economic driver for Hawaii. Participating high school students have the ability to earn credit towards graduation and receive internships, job shadowing opportunities, and scholarships. Most importantly, AOHT hopes to better prepare our youth for employment in the industry and keep them in Hawaii for the future.

Board of Directors

AOHT is directed by Board of Directors. Members are from many facets of the visitor industry. They represent hotels, transportation, activities, retail, restaurants, visitor industry associations, airlines, post-secondary education, DOE, and community. Their goals are as follows:

  • To sustain and support workforce development in the visitor industry;
  • To offer opportunities for exposure of high school students to as many facets of the industry as possible;
  • To provide exposure to the host culture and emphasize Hawaiiana as an integral part of Hawaii tourism;
  • To provide scholarships for continuing education in the area of hospitality & tourism;
  • To provide opportunities for internships and career shadowing

Goals & Objectives

The goal of AOHT is to provide exposure to students who would not ordinarily have an introduction to the industry and to offer exposure to a visitor’s point-of-view. Our main objectives are to provide internships for “hands-on” experience in the workforce and to provide scholarships to those who wish to continue their education in the visitor industry.

Understanding the significance & relevance of Hawaii’s host culture, it is one of AOHT’s primary objectives to educate students of the need to foster goodwill amongst the industry and the community, to cultivate respect for the host culture, to preserve this special place; and to balance the benefits and challenges of tourism.

Business Support

Internships play a key role in the development and the interaction between students and businesses. The support of visitor industry business partners continues to bridge this developmental skill-building opportunity. These part-time jobs also enable students to gain real live work experiences.

The Maui Hotel & Lodging Association provides significant support of the AOHT program. Each year, MHLA sponsors an “Excellence in Education” golf tournament which raises funds for AOHT scholarships. MHLA provides administrative support for the AOHT program.

Community Involvement

Giving back to the community is also a part of the AOHT curriculum. Towards this end, all academies are required to participate in volunteerism and provide community service projects to various organizations. Community Service is an integral part of the program.


The program provides students with:

  • Exposure to the industry and the myriad of careers available
  • An understanding of the visitor’s perspective
  • An understanding of the importance of giving back to the community

Thus, they are enabled to:

  • Learn new skills
  • Become employable
  • Gain confidence
  • Continue to post-secondary education with a better understanding of careers available

After being exposed to the visitor industry via internships and job shadowing, students are often hired after proficiently learning the skills that qualify them for regular employment. This valuable employment opportunity allows them a head-start on careers within the industry as they pursue their individual careers, or more importantly, degrees at the post-secondary level. This ongoing cycle creates a win-win situation for students, education and the community by improving the quality of our workforce.

Contact information:

Lisa Paulson
and Lorelle Peros, AOHT Co-Chair
85 N. Church Street
Wailuku, HI 96793

Photo: ClimbHI Participants 2022, Mayor Victorino, and UH Staff

Photo: Baldwin High School 2023 AOHT Participating Senior at final presentation, Mr. Toda and staff judges.

Become a Member Today!

Benefit from successful lobbying, quarterly mixers, participation in active advisory councils, oversight of state and county legislation that may affect your business, and our weekly newsletter.

Join Now Contact Us