Worried about a possible funding cut this fiscal year, officials of the Northern Marianas College are a bit relieved following disclosure of a high possibility that it will continue to receive the same amount in contract worker’s fees.
Quoting sources from Capital Hill, Dave Attao, dean of Administration and Resource Development, told the Board of Regents that the Inos administration’s plan to reallocate the CW fees is primarily due to an increase in the amount of CW fees collected this fiscal year 2014.
The government used to receive $1.5 million in CW fees. This reportedly increased to $1.9 million this fiscal year.
Under the fiscal year 2014 budget, the Public School System and NMC will each get $500,000 of these funds while the Northern Marianas Trade Institute will get $400,000.
“From our sources, they’re trying to re-appropriate the remaining funds [CW fees] that they didn’t use. From $1.5 million, we were told that they realized $1.9 million for this fiscal year,” Attao said.
Attao further explained that re-appropriating the remaining CW funds has to go through the legislative process.
Saipan Tribune tried to obtain comments from press secretary Angel Demapan but he has yet to respond as of press time.
According to Attao, the CW fees have been a big help in the operation of many programs at the college, particularly the apprenticeship program, which hadn’t had any funding since its creation in 2006.
This is on top of the meager amount the college gets as its share of the government budget each fiscal year. The college has been asking for about $8 million each year but usually gets a little over $5 million.
Attao said the $500,000 in CW fees go directly to the college’s workforce development programs.
CNMI employers pay $150 in education funding fee for each foreign worker they petition for a CW status. The federal government remits these funds to the CNMI government, and the administration earmarks these funds to institutions.
Saipan Tribune learned that NMC will use the CW funds to continue the development of its trades and casino programs on Rota and Tinian as well as for its efforts to continue to develop the tourism and hospitality program on Saipan
The funds will also be used to pay for critical costs associated with administering the college’s vocational and technical programs such as nursing, education, business, apprenticeship and workforce development.