The Northern Marianas Trades Institute has seen a significant increase in enrolment and programs offered under the leadership of its chief executive officer Agnes McPhetres, who continues to encourage the community to be trained in hard vocational trades.
McPhetres was hired as NMTI’s CEO in 2014 and has worked tirelessly with the NMTI board—led by chair John O. Gonzales—the administration, the Legislature, and the private sector in providing the needed skills that are in demand right now.
“[Parents] should encourage their own children to come and be trained. Our doors are always open,” said McPhetres, who added that she’s not going to stop asking students—especially graduating high school seniors—to get into NMTI.
“I’m going to continue [asking the students] because this is not for me. It is for them, the students, for the benefit of the people of the CNMI.”
NMTI’s enrolment increased from 63 for the 2013-2014 school year to 644 in SY 2017-2018, while the programs offered jumped to 15 compared to four almost five years ago.
“Enrolment went up and we’re happy that people are being provided with the services that they deserved, which was neglected for many years. As we grow in enrolment and also in skills with their training, I think the CNMI will have a healthy and wealthy economy,” McPhetres said.
She said that NMTI is the only vocational institution that offers hard trades in the CNMI that are in high demand in the local labor force. “We’re the only one that is providing the hard vocational trades. They have to understand the difference between soft light trades and hard trades.
“Hard trades is what we need right now. The [Northern Marianas College] have been teaching soft light trades—like computer, education, and nursing—and still ongoing. It had been ongoing for a long time, but its only now with hard trades,” McPhetres added.
Automotive technology, construction technology, culinary arts, and hotel and restaurant operations are programs that are still being offered with the addition of adult technical high school, carpentry, electricity, electronics, electronic systems technician, professionalism heavy equipment operations, heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC), power generation maintenance (mechanic and electrician), and welding trades.
They had also hired instructors and staff that are highly qualified to share their expertise in their chosen trades. Most of their faculty members were former administrators and instructors at NMC aside from working in the local business sector.
NMTI has also signed a memorandum of agreement with the CNMI hotel industry and other businesses to have their respective personnel as additional mentors and use their facilities for internship and actual training.