The Northern Marianas Trades Institute is now developing a five-year strategic master plan after an expert from Hawaii conducted a two-day workshop that taught the institute’s administrators of important points to consider.
Michael Rota, retired associate vice president for academic affairs for the University of Hawaii Community Colleges, came to Saipan at the invitation of NMTI chief executive officer Agnes McPhetres to conduct a workshop that educates NMTI administrators on the development of a strategic master plan.
Besides the basic skeleton and basic pointers included in a detailed strategic master plan, Rota also took into consideration what NMTI should focus on and what issues NMTI should address.
Rota said he merely gave NMTI the skeleton of the plan, and that the master plan is solely dependent on what direction NMTI plans to pursue.
“Some of the issues NMTI needs to pay attention to is the changing economy of the NMI—the change in the law regarding the CW-1 [program] provides them an opportunity to provide more local training,” he told Saipan Tribune. “The end of the contract worker period means you need to have local residents prepared to fill up contract workers’ jobs.”
NMTI administrators were educated on identifying issues, revising the vision statement, identifying the market, and understanding the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats facing NMTI as an organization.
“It’s a fairly structured process around identifying priority goals, objectives, and areas where NMTI need to grow their programs to meet the needs of the CNMI as well as areas where they are going to need additional resources if the community wants them to be successful,” said Rota.
Rota was satisfied with how the participants handled the workshop, saying they had “a very enthusiastic group” that was attended by nearly the whole organization.
McPhetres, who has been working with Rota for the past 30 years, said that all that is left is to develop and follow the master plan.
McPhetres is working on the master plan with about four to five members of the organization. They meet every other day of the week to “identify the direction of NMTI.”
“The five-year plan includes looking at statistics from the Department of Labor to see which areas are most needed as well as take into consideration developments in the CNMI,” said McPhetres. “We look at the type of developments here so that we can train people for that type of development.”
The plan includes the cost to educate students in that area.
Although she has prior experience in developing a strategic master plan, McPhetres said there might be some minor tweaks and adjustments as budgets estimations are only that—estimates.
“There [could] be some modifications depending on the time and the budget because at times [NMTI] anticipates a budget but then the government gives you less, so you have to work around it,” she said.