ClimbHI Bridge help keiki climb higher

  • Contributed

    Students meet Gov. David Ige in Honolulu at a pre-COVID-19 ClimbHI event.

LIHU‘E — Julie Morikawa, president of ClimbHI Bridge, appreciates the federal funding issued by the county in July to her locally grown nonprofit platform to help keiki further their education.

“ClimbHI is grateful for the opportunity to work even harder to inspire students to finish high school and proceed to post-secondary educations or employment by educating them about future career paths and the process necessary to achieve those goals,” Morikawa said.

The ClimbHI Bridge was awarded a $42,000 Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act Grant from the county to help students continue their education.

ClimbHI seeks to inspire students to finish high school and proceed to post-secondary educations or employment by educating them about future career paths and the process necessary to achieve those goals.

“With COVID-19 dramatically changing Hawai‘i’s economic and education landscape, the idea for the ClimbHI Bridge emerged and was selected by Hawai‘i Executive Collaborative and Hawai‘i Department of Education as a necessary tool to connect educators and business safely and efficiency with the goal of inspiring our keiki to achieve economic self-sufficiency through the exploration of diverse income sources,” Morikawa said.

ClimbHI Bridge will use the grant to pay for guest speaking, guest teaching, judges, coaches sought, mentorships, advisory boards, job shadowing, teacher externships, project-based learning, internships, site visits, career fair participation and job readiness activities.

Morikawa said it’s a statewide effort involving various public and private entities as well as nonprofits. Morikawa said there are over 160 entities registered on ClimbHI Bridge with 120 opportunities currently populated. The Hawai‘i Department of Education will soon begin to roll out portal access for educators across all schools.

“We welcome all businesses and local leaders that want to help inspire our keiki to come and join the ClimbHI Bridge now as we gear up for the educator roll-out,” Morikawa said.

According to Morikawa, ClimbHI Bridge is a resource for educators and businesses to communicate and set up educational opportunities around career development for our youth even with COVID-19 requirements on social distancing and gathering capacities among others.

“The portal will allow direct communication between educators and businesses to set up appropriate events like guest speaking, mentoring, and career fairs in a COVID-19 safe environment through remote channels,” Morikawa said.

Morikawa said funding from the grant would provide resources specific to Kaua‘i to source opportunities and support schools to create a robust offering for Kaua‘i’s keiki to learn about career paths here at home and the process necessary to achieve their goals.

ClimbHI Bridge will have two employees and multiple contractors working with this program from July through the end of December.

According to Morikawa, ClimbHI has been developed to seek community support to sustain education for students through real-life exposure. Students will be able to pick areas of interest and visit businesses and entities in that field for a guided experience of the operation, the opportunities available, and the requirements to take advantage of the opportunities in the future, all conducted by volunteer professionals from those specific businesses and institutions and ClimbHI.

“The goal is to take ClimbHI’s sustainable model nationwide, but the initial focus will be on Hawai‘i,” Morikawa said.

More information can be found for businesses and educators at info@climbhi.org or climbhi.org.

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