WASHINGTON, D.C.—Doug Domenech, U.S. Department of the Interior Assistant Secretary, Insular and International Affairs, this week announced $250,314 in fiscal year 2018 funding support for the Micronesian Resource Center One-Stop Shop in Guam. The MRC One-Stop Shop provides orientation services, family support initiatives, and workforce development to migrants from the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and the Republic of Palau, also known as the freely associated states, who may travel to the United States to live and work under the Compact of Free Association agreements.
“This Office of Insular Affairs initiative is intended to help provide initial support to FAS families and the government of Guam as they struggle to meet costs related to providing public services,” said Domenech. “It is important for communities on Guam to take the lead in finding solutions and we are encouraging the Micronesian Resource Center to become its own self-sufficient 501(c)(3) program so that it may continue serving and strengthening Micronesian children and families on Guam for the future.”
Now in their third year, the Micronesian Resource Center One-Stop Shop will receive $250,314 to continue to improve assessment of services and make meaningful impacts in new migrant orientation services, workforce development and employment services, and family support initiatives. At the end of 2017, the MRC One-Stop Shop served more than 3,000 individuals on Guam.
The MRC One-Stop Shop has built many important relationships in the community with Guam and federal government agencies, the Guam Mayor’s Council, local faith-based organizations, academic institutions, and other non-government organizations such as the Guam Homeless Council. They serve on a task force spearheaded by Guam’s Governor to address social issues in a high-risk neighborhood known as Hemlani Apartments and recently completed a cleanup project Adahi I Tano with support from Matson Inc. Every August, they host a fundraising 5K run, One Healthy Micronesia, which has attracted over 300 runners from a broad demographic. The next 5k run is August 11, 2018. Just last month, in a Guam Pacific Daily News, June 23, 2018, article, “Hiring FAS Citizens Challenge GPD”, the MRC was highlighted for its efforts to help the Guam Police Department recruit FAS individuals for the local police force.
The MRC recently relocated from their old location in Yona to a more central location at 272 E. Harmon Industrial Park Road, Unit 106, Tamuning, Guam. In the past month at the new location, they have received more foot traffic than in a six-month period at the old office location. The organization also does home visits and has logged in thousands of miles using the traveling office known affectionately as the Mobil Access to Information Van or “M.A.I.” Van (see picture). “Mai” and its homonyms across the Micronesian languages mean breadfruit, an important staple crop across Micronesia.
A similar initiative supported through the Office of Insular Affairs is the We are Oceania (WAO) Hālau Ola One Stop Center in Hawai’i which also received FY 2018 funding support and serves communities in Hawai’i. Both programs were created as a way to empower Micronesians on Guam and Hawaii to help the respective Governments of Guam and Hawai’s address and mitigate impacts of FAS migrants on social services.
The Assistant Secretary, Insular and International Affairs, and the Office of Insular Affairs carry out the Secretary of the Interior’s responsibilities for the U.S. territories of Guam, American Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. Additionally, OIA administers and oversees Federal assistance under the Compacts of Free Association to the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and the Republic of Palau. OIA supports the Secretary’s mission of Fulfilling Trust and Insular Responsibilities through balancing efforts and limited resources towards stronger economic and health capacities, and fiscal accountability in the U.S. insular areas. (PR)