Over 700 High School Students Sponsored Statewide in 2022-2023 by Businesses, Organizations for ClimbHI Workforce Development Credential

HONOLULU – March 03, 2023 – Hawaii workforce development nonprofit ClimbHI announces the donation of nearly $56,000 by businesses and organizations throughout Hawaii for the 2022-2023 academic year, sponsoring 708 students in grades 9-12 at 17 high schools statewide so they can earn ClimbHI Service Excellence Certificates. 

The Service Excellence Certificate, which is part of the Hawaii Department of Education (DOE) Career and Technical Education (CTE) program, has reached nearly 2,000 students statewide since it was launched in early 2020. Each student is sponsored at a cost of $79. Whenever possible, ClimbHI assists schools by connecting them with sponsors to cover the costs of the certificate. This academic year, all certificates were sponsored by donations from local businesses and organizations across a variety of industries.

“This program is made possible through successful public-private partnerships that provide opportunities for students at all high schools statewide,” said Julie Morikawa, president and founder of ClimbHI. “Mahalo to our generous sponsors for providing this support for our students as they work to achieve the workforce training they need to be successful in their future careers.”

Launched by ClimbHI with funding from the Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA), the Service Excellence Certificate helps graduates be more workforce ready. Student training is provided across nine modules, which can be completed remotely. The curriculum was exclusively developed in partnership with the School of Hotel Administration at the Cornell SC Johnson College of Business, one of the leading hospitality administration programs in the world. Upon completion of the program, students receive a Service Excellence Certificate of Achievement from Cornell University and ClimbHI. Courses cover skills development, managing customer interactions, and Aloha Spirit Law as outlined in the Hawaii Revised Statutes (HRS 5-7.5). 

“We are proud to come together with other businesses and organizations to support our keiki as they build the skills and relationships they need to start successful careers,” said Doug Chang, general manager of The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Waikiki Beach.

This academic year’s two-dozen sponsors also include AES, The Maui Visitors & Convention Bureau, Embassy Suites by Hilton Oahu Kapolei, Koloa Landing Resort at Poipu, Autograph Collection, the Maui Hotel & Lodging Association, and Marriott’s Ko Olina Beach Club, among others. 

“Connecting with schools through high-quality programs like these allows us to showcase the many opportunities available in the clean energy industry support careers for local students in communities throughout Hawaiʻi, and help develop the next generation of leaders,” said Sandra Larsen, Hawaiʻi Market Business Leader, AES.

Demand for the Service Excellence Certificate has increased this year due to ClimbHI’s new Hospitality for Me program, which was created in 2022 to connect schools with business leaders to bridge gaps and help enhance industry education opportunities as the DOE prepares to launch its new Hospitality, Tourism, and Recreation CTE pathway in 2023. 

For additional information on the Service Excellence Certificate program, or to sponsor student certificates, e-mail info@ClimbHI.org. All high schools statewide are eligible and encouraged to submit sponsorship requests.

About ClimbHI: Founded in 2009, the Hawaii-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit ClimbHI 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. For more, visit climbhi.org


Teddi Anderson
President, TLC PR
(808) 535-9099