The Northern Marianas Trades Institute unveiled Wednesday its newest facility for culinary students, promising to double the number of skilled workers in the community.
The ceremonial ribbon cutting was held Wednesday morning in the presence of NMTI staff and students as well as Bishop Ryan Jimenez, Hyatt Regency Saipan staff, and legislators.
NMTI CEO Agnes McPhetres said, “Before, we could only work with about 10 students at a time. With the new facility, we doubled it to 20-plus who can use the own space whenever we want.”
“We are pleased with the construction. It just makes everything so much more convenient for our school and the students,” McPhetres added.
The room offers state-of-the-art equipment, similar to those in hotels. Construction took about six months and was built by the school’s own construction students.
Rita Cabrera, graduating student from NMTI, said, “I learned so much more than I thought I would have. It was a great choice to go into this school, because they really offer a lot of learning for anyone who chooses to enroll.”
All culinary class instructors are from Hyatt.
Sen. Arnold Palacio said, “We want an increase in our economy and we certainly need a larger workforce. I believe this new facility will help us with that.”
Tyrell Pauling, Hyatt’s director of Food and Beverage, said, “With the culinary program they have here at NMTI, graduates receive leadership roles at Hyatt, with some even starting up their own business.”
In total, the equipment for the new facility cost $100,000, not taking into account the construction costs.
“In you’re interested in the culinary arts, come check us out. When you leave the class, you have all the tools you’ll need for the workforce,” Pauling said.
The culinary program has been in place since 2008, but plans for upgrading only began two years ago with the help of McPhetres and several others. Plans for a hotel restaurant program are also underway.