Delegate Gregorio Kilili C. Sablan (Ind-MP) re-introduced yesterday legislation creating the Dr. Rita Hocog Inos Territorial Fellowship program, H.R. 512. The fellowship program is intended to encourage students from the U.S. insular areas to become engaged in civic affairs by giving them experience working in public service.
“Dr. Rita Hocog Inos exemplified dedication to public service,” Sablan said. “So I think it would be a tribute to her memory to create a program that cultivates that same dedication in other young leaders in the Northern Mariana Islands, as well as [in] Guam, American Samoa, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.”
Sablan's bill authorizes the Department of the Interior to use funds, which Congress already appropriates, to run the fellowship program. College students and recent graduates would be given on-the-job training and mentoring to develop professional skills useful in public service employment. They would be exposed to the day-to-day challenges confronting those working in government. And there would be opportunities for the Inos Fellows to build networks at both the local and federal government level to further their careers.
“The Northern Marianas and all the U.S. insular areas need to keep building our capacity for self-government and self-management,” Sablan said. “Giving our best and brightest a chance to see how to manage in a government setting is one way to bring the next generation of leaders into the public sector, and also get them started on the right foot with a serious and rigorous program.”
The fellowships would be for a summer or academic semester. Fellows would be placed in local or federal government situations and provided a small stipend.
The program's namesake, Dr. Rita Hocog Inos, began her own career, as a teacher, right out of high school. She soon realized, however, that further education was needed for her to grow to her full potential. She eventually earned her doctorate and became head of the Public School System in the Northern Mariana Islands, linking the values of education and public service.
“In her life, Dr. Inos was an inspiration to many,” Sablan said. “I hope that this fellowship program created in her name will continue to inspire many more in the years to come.”