Attao elaborates on NMTI ‘facelift project’ and Koblerville site

Posted on Jun 24 2021


Northern Marianas Technical Institute interim CEO Jodina Attao walks Saipan Tribune through a whiteboard where portions of her “facelift project” for NMTI are written at NMTI’s current location in Lower Base. (Joshua Santos)

With many short- and long-term improvements for the Northern Marianas Technical Institute that are now in the pipeline, interim chief executive officer Jodina Attao is hoping the revitalized NMTI will leave an impact on future students and she plans to provide opportunities for alumni that want to give back.

“I’m hoping that students who get certified here in the future come back wanting to be instructors. …[We want them] to have the opportunity to pass on the knowledge that they gained from us,” said Attao.

Essential to this is what Attao describes as a “facelift project” for NMTI, going into detail about her plans to reorient the Lower Base facility so that instructional classrooms are closer to workshops, the building of an NMTI facility in Koblerville, and other plans.

At its core, Attao said the main purpose of the “facelift project” is to create a school that future trade students would be proud of going to. “The facelift project is to help us entice enrollees to come in and register with us. If I was going to a school, I’d want to be proud of where I came from,” said Attao.

She explained Tuesday that part of her long-term goals for the trade school is to move classrooms closer to their workshops within its Lower Base facility. “The ultimate goal is to get our classrooms tied to their specific workshops so that it’s easier to transition from instructional learning to worksite learning,” said Attao. She and NMTI staff expect to get this done before NMTI reopens for students on Aug. 18.

As for other long-term plans, Attao said that construction work for NMTI’s Koblerville location will take two to three years before completion, and the current plan is to move the trade school’s administrative offices to the new site. Attao said she wants both NMTI facilities to be operating but to retain the Lower Base facility as the trade school’s main campus. Funding for the construction of the Koblerville building will be funded through the $10.3 million that the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration gave NMTI on Feb. 18 this year.

Attao promises to maintain transparency between her and the public in the long-term. “I’m very transparent with public information because that’s the way I want to operate. If [anyone] has a question, I [am] open and honest in answering it,” said Attao.

Joshua Santos | Reporter
Joshua Santos is a Mount Carmel School AlumKnight and University of Florida Gator Grad with a passion for writing. He is one of Saipan Tribune’s newest reporters. Josh enjoys golf, chess, and playing video games with friends in his spare time. Reach out to him @rarebasedjosh on all socials.

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