Julie Hulali Morikawa ’01, president and executive director of ClimbHI

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Alumna partners with Cornell in Hawai‘i

In 2010, Julie Hulali Morikawa ’01 founded ClimbHI to help Hawai‘i middle and high school students explore career options, uncover what they really enjoy doing, and get a better sense of the practical steps necessary to pursue their goals.

In 2019, ClimbHI developed a hospitality pathway certificate program for high school students throughout the state, under a contract with the Hawai‘i State Department of Education (DOE) and with support from the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority (HTA).

The certificate program teaches students fundamental skills for employment in the hospitality industry and beyond. The curriculum was exclusively developed in partnership with the School of Hotel Administration at the Cornell SC Johnson College of Business. Upon completion of the program, students receive a Service Excellence Certificate of Achievement from Cornell University and ClimbHI. The program started during the 2020-2021 school year, and more than 600 students received certificates in the first year.

“The program brings together Cornell’s world-renowned hospitality curriculum with aloha and the aloha spirit law. We teach not only work skills, but life skills that reach well beyond any single career path—touching any interactions that students have,” Julie says. “Employers in Hawai‘i greatly value the skills that the program provides and consider the certificate when hiring,” she adds.

The ClimbHI Service Excellence Certificate will be available to all DOE high schools in the state in 2021-2022 school year and has become the standard certificate offering for the school system’s hospitality pathway.

Read the full story from Alumni Affairs and Development.

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