The Northern Marianas College and the CNMI Department of Finance have agreed to work together to train Customs and biosecurity cadets that will allow them to earn 40 college credits that will go toward a criminal justice degree at the college.
Interim NMC president Frankie Eliptico and Finance Secretary David DLG Atalig signed a memorandum of agreement last Friday making official this joint operation between the DOF and the college in training Customs and biosecurity cadets that will also allow them to earn college credits.
For DOF’s part, it will provide NMC with staff and instructors and will identify potential instructors and cadets, and will provide the following equipment to support the academy training cycles: classrooms, emergency vehicles, ammunition, firearms, van, tactical gear, tires, rappelling ropes, tools, and equipment; uniforms, and other materials as needed.
Parts of NMC’s responsibilities include providing administrative support, advice, counseling, computer lab access, and library services to the DOF and those participating in the academy, ensuring that prospective participants complete all of NMC’s application requirements, providing a certificate of completion to cadets who complete the academy, and to apply the appropriate amount of criminal justice college credits for these cadets.
In his remarks before signing the memorandum, Eliptico said this formal partnership between NMC and the CNMI Division of Customs has been in the works for quite some time. He thanked NMC regent Irene Torres, whom he credits as “a huge advocate of building all these partnerships with other organizations here in the CNMI.”
“This has been a long conversation going, and I’m glad that we’re working on some finality to it, and that we can move forward with proceeding with establishing and administering the academy,” said Eliptico.
Atalig looks forward to how the partnership between the DOF and NMC will develop. “I too have been a long-time staffer at NMC, and my heart has always been with NMC as well and an avid supporter of NMC and its programs. This program will be to many a new chapter in their personal and professional careers,” said Atalig.
CNMI Customs director Jose Mafnas expressed gratitude to Atalig for his support of the division and its programs, and spoke of how awarding cadets with 40 college credits upon completing training is a great opportunity to pursue the remaining 20 credits to receive an associate degree.
“It was really exciting for us to hear and for the officers that after the academy they earn 40 [college credit] hours. …Mr. Secretary [Atalig] has always been very supportive with the programs that we have at Customs, especially in training our officers,” said Mafnas.
The agreement between NMC and the DOF is effective from last Friday to June 4, 2024.