The U.S. Economic Development Administration has awarded $10.7 million to the Northern Marianas College to build a three-story, typhoon resistant, Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant Workforce Development and Training Center.
The demolition of 14 buildings damaged by Super Typhoon Yutu at NMC’s As Terlaje campus is now complete and makes way for the 20,158 square foot, three-story building that will be built on the site, which will house NMC’s nursing and business programs and Center for Innovation.
This project is being touted as a means to help NMC respond to the economic impact of Super Typhoon Yutu by expanding the training of skilled workers to meet the current and future demands of local employers.
According to NMC interim president Frankie Eliptico, NMC has been working in the past two years to secure funds to help NMC build a brand-new campus. He said that EDA is funding one building and the U.S. Department of Education will be funding another structure. The Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery funds will also be funding some classrooms.
The business section will include “critical workforce” development programs that include accounting, computer applications, hospitality management, and other business management courses. The nursing section will include NMC’s degree, associate, and certificate programs in nursing.
“The pandemic is causing an increase in demand for health care workers. We are working to secure partnerships with local and other off-island institutions to implement new programs that build up the health care capacity of the CNMI,” said Eliptico. This includes radiology technicians, medical technicians, laboratory technicians, and other related health care industry workforce capacity activities.
According to Eliptico, NMC is working as fast as it can to make sure the buildings go up in the quickest time possible. They want to make sure the buildings are engineered and designed so that the buildings can withstand future typhoons, and will be ready to incorporate future innovations in energy efficiency and other considerations.
“The next step that we’re already undertaking is the facilities master plan…which will help design the footprint of where certain buildings will go,” said Eliptico.
The timeline to start on the buildings is in a couple of years. he said that NMC doesn’t want to rush anything, but they are carefully assessing how they can compress the timeline while ensuring that the building is well-engineered, well-built, and well-managed.
“The grant funds will help Northern Marianas College build resilient, technologically-advanced, and energy-efficient facilities to meet the workforce and education needs of the Northern Mariana Islands,” said Gov. Ralph DLG Torres “We are thankful for the Trump administration for their help and support of NMC’s long-term recovery and rebuilding efforts. The new facilities funded by EDA will help NMC expand and sustain critical programs for our community moving forward as the college commemorates its 40th anniversary in 2021.”
EDA is an agency in the U.S. Department of Commerce that provides grants and technical assistance to economically distressed communities.