Inspiring the next generation

LIHUE — In April, ClimbHI and the Hawaii Tourism Authority will kick off the 5th annual LEI (Leadership, Exploration and Inspiration) program.

LEI is the largest workforce development program in Hawaii, and was created to inspire Hawaii’s youth to select careers in the local visitor industry.

LEI 2016 will take place on four different islands: Kauai on April 6, Oahu on April 8, Maui on April 13, and Hawaii Island on April 15-16. It will engage more than 800 high school students and 100 college students from across the state, and involve more than 85 businesses.

“Sheraton Kauai Resort is proud to be a part of the LEI program to inspire and develop the future generation of our industry,” said June Cappiello, Sheraton Kauai Resort spokeswoman. “The feedback we received from the inaugural program on Kauai was that the students enjoyed engaging with our veteran team of hospitality professionals and the opportunity for hands-on experiences to see the resort, taste the food and learn about our brand of hospitality. We’re looking forward to the return of this wonderful program and the further reach we’ll have this year.”
The LEI program is an opportunity for youth to hear directly from the hospitality industry about career paths available to them, and also an opportunity for the tourism industry to recruit local employees and encourage them to aspire to management positions.

The day-long program on each island features speeches from government and industry leaders, tours of participating hotels and a cultural training program. The youth participants will get to learn about careers in the hospitality industry, as well as college/university opportunities at the career fair at the end of the day.
“Tourism’s sustainability depends on our industry’s ability to encourage Hawaii’s home-grown talent to choose this career and reward them with opportunities to grow,” said George Szigeti, president and CEO of the Hawaii Tourism Authority. “ClimbHI’s LEI program is important to Hawaii tourism, as it is starting today’s youth on a path to becoming tomorrow’s leaders. HTA is proud to support the LEI program and the way it is helping to support tourism’s future.”

ClimbHI is still looking for businesses to participate in the career fair to be held at the end of each day of the LEI program. To participate or sign up for the career fair, email info@climbhi.org or visit www.climbhi.org.