Program offers high school students peek into tourism industry

Program offers high school students peek into tourism industry


KRIS STUDENTS ON THREE ISLANDS ARE INVITED TO A PROGRAM THAT FOCUSES ON HAWAII’S CULTURE…AND WHY TOURISM…COULD BE THE CAREER TO GET INTO. IT’S CALLED THE “LEI” PROGRAM…AND IT GIVES STUDENTS A PEEK INTO THE LOCAL INDUSTRY. JOINING US NOW WITH MORE ON THE PROGRAM ARE.Julie Morikawa, President & CEO OF ClimbHI…AND George Szigeti, president and CEO of the Hawaii Tourism Authority..GOOD MORNING. 1. Q- JULIE, EXPLAIN A LITTE ABOUT THE LEI PROGRAM. A- Started in 2012, the LEI program is a workforce development program run by ClimbHI in partnership with the Hawaii Tourism Authority. It introduces Hawaii’s youth to potential careers in the travel and tourism industry. 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 Hawai’i’s youth. With four events throughout the islands, the LEI program brings together over 1,000 high school and college students from over 40 schools to be exposed to more than 100 different businesses. The LEI programs includes leadership training, inspirational speakers, site visits to hotels, and a career fair, as well as a partnership with college classes to incorporate a curriculum to plan the LEI program career fair. 2. Q- GEORGE, WHY IT IS IMPORTANT TO INVEST IN WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT FOR THE TOURISM INDUSTRY? A-It supports the future of Hawaii’s tourism industry. It’s imperative we create the pathways for Hawaii’s youths to follow in tourism and the inspiration to build a career in an industry that provides them with boundless opportunities to grow, manage and develop into our next generation of community leaders. By encouraging them to stay home and pursue careers in travel and hospitality, Hawaii will be strengthened as both a family-centered community and as a destination to welcome people from around the world. 3. Q -JULIE, WHAT KIND OF IMPACT HAS THE LEI PROGRAM HAD ON HIGH SCHOOL AND COLLEGE STUDENTS? A – I have worked with students from the time they come to a LEI event in high school and it is their first exposure to the many career opportunities. I’ve had parents tell me that after their child attended a LEI event that the student now saw a purpose for their future, to graduate high school because they knew that they could start at the bottom and work their way up in the tourism industry. I’ve had amazing interns that started at community college and after completing their internships and seeing all the different careers and connections in the tourism industry have gone onto bachelor degrees, interning at hotels, or are now working internationally in the tourism industry. The LEI program really changes the way students see their futures. 4. Q- GEORGE, WHY DOES HTA PARTNER AND SUPPORT NONPROFITS AND PROGRAMS LIKE CLIMBHI AND THE LEI PROGRAM? A -In order to present Hawaii in the best light, HTA invests in our community through grants to a wide array of organizations, events and programs. HTA wants to show the world the best parts of Hawaii and we can’t do that without helping our community first. HTA looks to our community partners to be the expert in their field and we want to help support them. The ClimbHI’s LEI program provides an amazing opportunity for Hawai’i’s young people to learn how they can be the next generation of tourism leaders, ambassadors and employees to guide tourism forward, to make a positive impact. We see our partnership with ClimbHI and the LEI Program as a win for youth, our community and our tourism industry. KRIS AND THE LEI PROGRAM WILL BE HEATING KAUAI ON FRIDAY…OAHU..AT THE HAWAII CONVENTION CENTER ON APRIL 9…AND ON APRIL 17 AND 18TH AND THE MAUNA KEA BEACH HOTEL ON HAWAII ISLAND. KRISTINE:

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