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Visitor industry gives back to future business leaders

By Staff | Jun 11, 2009

WAILUKU — In a special luncheon prepared by the Maui Culinary Academy to honor graduating students in the Academy of Hospitality & Tourism (AOHT) program, the Maui Hotel & Lodging Association recently recognized 84 graduating seniors and presented a total of $7,300 in scholarships to eight recipients who successful completed the two-year curricula designed for students interested in pursuing careers in the visitor industry.

Scholarship recipients who were recognized as outstanding achievers include Jordyn Kilgore, Tam Nguyen and Katherine Tadeo of Lahainaluna High School, Nicole Calubaquib of Baldwin, and Sunshine Castillo, Jelyn Domingo, Chelsie Ramelb and Randolf Uclaray of Maui High School.

“The AOHT program offers students a unique opportunity to gain firsthand knowledge of the visitor industry. Many of these students continue on to post-secondary education with a head-start in selecting their field of study,” said Carol Reimann, executive director for the Maui Hotel & Lodging Association.

“We are pleased to offer such a great program to high school students — our future business leaders — and contribute to workforce development.”

Since AOHT’s inception in the early 1990s with a one-time donation from the Kaanapali Beach Hotel, the program has proven to be a successful public-private partnership. The seed that was first planted at Lahainaluna High School now includes programs at Maui High & Baldwin High School.

This innovative “schools within schools” concept emphasizes academic excellence while exposing students to the “real world.” AOHT’s primary goal is to prepare students for post-secondary education and cultivate workforce development in one of the world’s largest service industries.

Administered by the Maui Hotel & Lodging Association, the program provides students with valuable exposure to the industry via internships, job shadowing, research, event planning, service projects, job site visits, university visits and travel.

In addition, AOHT provides scholarship opportunities to high school students who wish to continue their education in the visitor industry. Today, the AOHT program on Maui includes over 220 students.