The proposed Department of Labor budget for fiscal year 2019 already includes the creation of a new bureau solely for labor statistics as well as program resurrections.
According to Labor Secretary Vicky Benavente, the DOL has already taken into consideration within their $2.3-million budget proposal the set up of a new bureau and one program resurrection during their budget hearing yesterday on Capital Hill.
Benavente said the department could work with the $1.6 million proposal as offered by Gov. Ralph DLG Torres in a previous communication.
She said a large chunk of the $1.6 million would go to the new Bureau of Labor Statistics, along with resurrecting the Summer Youth Employment Program as well as funding for the Apprenticeship Program.
Benavente believes that with the new bureau coordinating with the Department of Finance, it could track the data of employers and employees in order to come up with statistical evidence when needed, especially for the CW program.
“We need justification. We can’t just say we need this many [employees]. [The federal government] would ask why and what jobs,” she said, adding that the local Labor department has “very little data.”
According to her report, the bureau would consist of five additional employees for DOL.
The Summer Youth Employment Program lost funding after the federal program funding ended in 2016.
“DOL wanted to restore the [program], and I think that is something the members support,” said House Ways and Means Committee chair Rep. Angel A. Demapan (R-Saipan).
“[The program] helps expose our students to the workforce,” he said, adding that the additional experience would give them an advantage over those who do not participate in the program.
“I believe that at a time where we are really talking about workforce development, this is something we should invest in,” said Demapan.