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Monday, April 21, 2014

Many retirees want to return to the workforce
NMC extends free training courses to help retirees

Northern Marianas College Workforce Development and Apprenticeship Program, through its partner, Community Development Institute, awards certificates of completion to a cohort of retirees and other students who completed the Customer Service Series and Computer Literacy Skills course. These courses were designed to help retirees and other individuals who would like to transition back into the workforce. (SALVI VILLANUEVA/NMC) Retirees who want to upgrade their skills in order to find jobs on islands can now do so, thanks to the Northern Marianas College.

A handful of retirees who have been affected by the 25-percent cut in their pension checks were recently assisted by NMC with free training courses and certificate programs that would help them go back to the workforce.

“The 25-percent reduction in retirement benefits has impacted many of our retirees, and some of them have considered reentering the workforce. We wanted to help many of these retirees by extending these skill development courses to them for free so that they can transition back to the workforce,” said David Attao, dean of administration and resource development at the college.

The NMC Workforce Development and Apprenticeship Program, through its partner, Community Development Institute, recently awarded certificates of completion to retirees and other students who completed the Customer Service Series and Computer Literacy Skills course, which was designed for retirees and those individuals who would like to transition back into the workforce.

As a part of the free service, a skills and needs assessment was done on the participants. The curriculum was designed for adult workers, retirees, and other U.S. eligible individuals who are interested in learning new skills or sharpening their current skills to correspond to current workforce needs.

The courses that were offered include leadership skills, workplace culture and ethics, transitioning back into the classroom and/or work environment, customer service, time management, stress management, computer literacy, and many more. The courses started in November and ran through December. This program is funded by Commonwealth workers fees.

One retiree who took advantage of this program is Mira Sablan, who wants to go back to work and earn a living. She said she found the courses to be a positive and helpful experience in her search for employment.

“I really learned a lot, and the instructors really got up to help us. I know this will really help me,” she said.

Equally satisfied and grateful for the opportunity to learn is Martin B. Castro, who encourages others to take advantage of opportunities the college is offering retirees like himself. 

“To the general community, especially retirees…I encourage them to participate in programs like this to enhance their skills in the digital world; it’s the key to broaden their minds… [and help them] to be able to explore the world through the Internet,” he said.

Castro plans to take up more courses in the future to expand his knowledge and skills. “I am proud and glad to be a continuous member of this effort.”

Another course participant, Dan Han, is very thankful to his course instructors and the individuals he took courses with at NMC, telling his fellow course participants, “I hope you have a better future and better job.”

Saipan Tribune learned that the classes are precursors to NMC’s upcoming Workforce Development Industry Series. This series is designed to meet the needs of industries by providing training and educational opportunities to U.S. eligible workers in line with industry needs.

In collaboration with NMC’s partners, workers who initially receive training by NMC are then either referred for further training, or educational opportunities in an NMC academic program, the Northern Marianas Trades Institute or equivalent, apprenticeship program, WIA, and/or into businesses for those who qualify or adequately demonstrate the needed skills and knowledge.

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