Nov. 15-19 is National Apprenticeship Week in the CNMI
Nov. 15 to 19 is designated as National Apprenticeship Week in the CNMI, with Gov. Ralph DLG Torres making this official during a proclamation signing yesterday at the Northern Marianas College Board of Regents conference room.
The proclamation comes at a good time as the CNMI Department of Labor, NMC, the Northern Marianas Technical Institute, and the CNMI Public School System are in the process of building a registered apprenticeship program that will build a highly-skilled and diverse workforce in the CNMI, and as the CNMI inches closer to the planned phase-out of the CW-1 contract worker program in 2029.
The proclamation itself has provisions that recognizes the vital role that registered apprenticeships play in providing opportunities for the people of the CNMI by allowing apprentices to earn while they learn and setting apprentices on paths to well-paying careers and the ability to advance in those careers.
Other provisions also recognize the ways that registered apprenticeships can address the CNMI’s unique workforce needs and the ways these internships can benefit underserved communities in the CNMI.
Before signing the proclamation, Torres lauded DOL, NMC, NMTI, and PSS for “leading this important work of building a highly-skilled workforce to meet the needs of our community.”
“As we prepare for the end of the CW transition period in 2029, workforce development is everyone’s business, and my administration will continue to be an advocate and a partner in this collaborative effort,” said Torres.
NMC president Dr. Galvin Deleon Guerrero, acting Education commissioner Eric Magofna, and NMTI chief executive officer Jodina Attao also gave remarks before Torres signed the proclamation.
“One thing I know that we’re good at here in the [CNMI] is coming together, whether it be after a crisis, during a crisis, or even just for fiesta. We know how to come together to help each other out, and that’s the beauty of the apprenticeship program,” said Deleon Guerrero. “It’s designed to only work with partnerships between the educational institutions, with our government entities, and our private employers. And the saying ‘it takes a village to raise a child.’ Well, it’s going to take a Commonwealth to prepare a meaningful workforce as 2029 approaches.”
“We all understand the importance of 2029 and beyond. Building the workforce in the CNMI has and continues to be at the forefront of all our goals. …I’m especially pleased that we can come together to work toward a goal to ensure that we continue to develop a one-stop system that will allow current and future employers, employees, and postsecondary and industry partners the ability to get on the way of education, jobs, and training that will help [apprentices] climb any ladder they desire, whether it be education, in the workforce, or just in life,” said Magofna.
“National Apprenticeship Week does not just celebrate and commemorate a very important part of workforce development, it also calls for action. So with this, we encourage all our stakeholders to take full advantage of this program. …NMC, NMTI, along with PSS we will continue to do our part to ensure that the goal is met, and that [in] the CNMI we build the local capacity needed to push the CNMI forward,” Magofna added.
“This is a very exciting time as we rebuild the workforce after the effects of [COVID-19]. …NMTI is very excited to be a part of the efforts in providing learning opportunities to young men and women in various crafts and trades so they can have practical training in a particular skill. With apprenticeships, [NMTI] will be able to create flexible training options with a partnership with [the NMC Community Development Institute], and ourselves at NMTI are able to include the employers’ ability to recruit and develop a highly-skilled workforce,” said Attao.