Fernandez convenes NMC workforce team


Members of the Strategic Workforce Action Team pose for a group photo after their recent meeting to discuss workforce development and continuing education issues. Seated, from left, Arlene Yamagata, Office of Vocational Rehabilitation; Dr. Carmen Fernandez, Northern Marianas College; Tee Abraham, Civil Service Commission; Edith Deleon Guerrero, Department of Labor; and Mark Rabauliman, Department of Commerce. Standing, from left: Rose Pangelinan, CNMI Scholarship Office, Gloria Cavanagh, Hotel Association of the Northern Mariana Islands; Maria Aguon, Northern Marianas College Tinian; Lourdes Atalig, Office of Vocational Rehabilitation; Velma Lore, Commonwealth Casino Commission; Mercilynn Palec, Saipan Chamber of Commerce; Martin Mendiola, Northern Marianas College Rota; Ross Manglona, Northern Mariana Trade Institute; Carol Chagualaf, Marianas Visitors Authority; and Merissa Rasa, Saipan Higher Education Financial Assistance. (Contributed Photo)

Northern Marianas College president Dr. Carmen Fernandez recently convened a meeting of the Strategic Workforce Action Team, better known as SWAT, a group formed to address the CNMI’s workforce development and continuing education needs.

“The work of this group is especially critical, given that only two years remain until the transitional worker program ends in 2019, although it is hoped that the cap increase and extension are granted,” said Fernandez.

“There is considerable work ahead of us, and I am confident that this team, which is composed of highly effective and capable individuals, will be able to identify short and long-term solutions to help the CNMI meet local workforce needs,” added Fernandez.

The SWAT team includes leaders and representatives of the Public School System, Department of Labor, Department of Commerce, Marianas Visitors Authority, Northern Marianas Trades Institute, CNMI Scholarship, Saipan Higher Education Financial Assistance Program, Saipan Chamber of Commerce, Office of Vocational Rehabilitation, Civil Service Commission, Hotel Association of the NMI, Marianas Visitors Authority, Office of Personnel Management, and the college.

The first meeting last week centered on topics like career readiness, customer service skills, internship opportunities, financial literacy of students, and other topics. The discussion also included the CNMI Scholarship’s Marianas Employees Financial Assistance Program and the program that provides scholarship opportunities for high school students.

Fernandez said the work of SWAT will also complement other workforce-focused groups.

“Many of the recommendation and action items coming from the team will be implemented at the college and at the other agencies represented, while larger scale strategies will be presented to the governor and Legislature,” Fernandez said. (NMC)

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