NMTI to partner with PSS for vocational trades


The Northern Marianas Trades Institute is teaming up with the CNMI Public School System in order to offer various vocational skills to high school students.

The idea is to develop a curriculum that would offer vocational trade from the ninth all the way to the 12th grade, according to NMTI chief executive officer Agnes McPhetres in last Friday night’s Denim & Diamonds Gala at Fiesta Resort & Spa’s Hibiscus Hall.

It is not yet known if the trades program would start this coming school year, but the overall goal is to curb the dropout rate among high school students, McPhetres said, “so that they will have options while they are going to school. By the time they graduate from high school, they will have their diplomas plus a certificate in some trades area.”

She said NMTI’s partnership with PSS would give students the chance to either work part-time or join the CNMI labor force full-time once they graduate from high school. “And when they reach their senior year they would be able to be employed because they will have the skills by then,” McPhetres said.

“We have this memorandum of agreement with the [CNMI Board of Education] that the students could benefit from it, so that we don’t have to duplicate the programs,” she said.

McPhetres added that NMTI’s programs are not limited to high school graduates or the youth as anyone can learn trades skills. “We are open to any age.”


Triple J board chair Robert H. Jones congratulated McPhetres and the entire NMTI board for the trades programs that they offer, most especially in the culinary arts that help ease workforce issues in the CNMI.

“I congratulate [McPhetres] and her group for the progress they’ve made. I’ve seen the ups and downs of our economy, and the challenges of securing a workforce to do the job. We’re not going to get the problem solved unless we train local people to do the job long-term,” Jones said.

“It’s been a pleasure to work alongside Agnes and NMTI in the culinary arts program to reinvest in our employees. It’s been my pleasure to make what little contribution we have on behalf of my family and employees.”

He thanked Triple J’s 918-strong labor force in Micronesia—the CNMI, Guam, the Marshall Islands, and Palau—for their success and the reason behind the Robert H. Jones Award for Student Achievement in Culinary Arts.

“I have the best group of employees who back me up 100 percent and it’s because of them, my team to whom I attribute this award, that I’m standing here tonight. I’m also encouraged by the amount of support that I’ve seen here tonight from all the people. All the tables are full,” added Jones.

Jon Perez | Reporter
Jon Perez began his writing career as a sports reporter in the Philippines where he has covered local and international events. He became a news writer when he joined media network ABS-CBN. He joined the weekly DAWN, University of the East’s student newspaper, while in college.

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