With the Northern Marianas Trades Institute reopening its doors to 103 students, the more NMTI chief executive officer Agnes McPhetres is convinced that the school should be accredited so that its students will be able to tap federal financial aid, which would mean more money going into the institute.
Right now, NMTI students can only avail of local financial help from CNMI Scholarship and Saipan Higher Education Financial Assistance. By having NMTI accredited, that would allow its students to apply for federal scholarships and McPhetres said the money students will get from a federal program will end up going into the institute (material, paying the teachers, etc.), plus it will allow the institute to be eligible for more federal grants.
This will be extremely helpful to NMTI, McPhetres said, since the institute pays for most of the materials its students need. For example, a culinary student needs aprons, knives, food to cook, etc., while an automotive student needs tools, something to work on, etc.—all of which aren’t cheap.
“Here, you have to buy supplies that are consumable. You have to buy tools, you have to buy equipment, you have to buy the type of clothing or shoes that is acceptable for that particular trade,” said McPhetres. Students can’t learn from a YouTube video; they need to be hands-on, she said.
In the same interview, NMTI director for Continuing Education and Workforce Development, Ross S. Manglona, stated that most of their equipment are donated to NMTI but there are other costly equipment that they have purchased for their students. For example, NMTI had to purchase a $27,000 generator from the Commonwealth Utilities Corp. for the students so that they can teach the students what is in the generator and how to fix it.
It was not immediately learned which accrediting body NMTI is pursuing.
McPhetres emphasized that being in charge of a trades institute is drastically different than being in charge of a typical school. A trades school, she said, needs more funding for materials, mock materials, etc.
According to Manglona, NMTI averages 700 students a year with only 12 instructors.
NMTI offers classes in culinary arts, electrical, automotive technology, heating, ventilation, and air conditioning, welding, hotel, and restaurant operations, etc.