The CNMI Public School System will be implementing this school year a new policy that would prepare graduating seniors for life after high school—either learning career skills in vocational trades and join the workforce or going to college for higher education.
This was PSS’ addendum to its the graduation policy, said Jackie Quitugua, the associate commissioner for Curriculum and Instructional Services, where they would work closely with the Northern Marianas College and the Northern Marianas Trades Institute.
“What we [will] have [is] a pathway that would show different career pathways for our children. [Like] what would be the required—math, science, social studies, and language arts—which in the end gives flexibility to the school system in addressing these needs,” said Quitugua.
She said that PSS would be assisted by what is what is called a Kuder assessment. Kuder is a career guidance service provider that offers resources and other tools for career planners.
“We’re guided by the interest and skills of our children that are taking the Kuder assessment, which really is very informative to us because it tells us what are the different careers,” said Quitugua.
Quitugua said the task at hand is expected to be hard, but they are willing to do it for the good of the CNMI’s youth.
“It is a lot but, in the end, we are also answering the question: ‘Are we getting our students ready for college, career, and life?’ I think that’s the question that we need to always be putting at the forefront, in our hearts and minds. To remind us that we need to be providing our children the quality instruction that would lead them to a good life in the future,” she added.
NMTI said they had partnered with PSS in developing a curriculum for the vocational trades from the ninth to 12th grades. This vocational trades curriculum will start this school year and NMTI has already donated two vans that will be used to transport students from public schools to the NMTI campus in Lower Base.
NMTI chief executive officer Agnes McPhetres said the vocational trades would prepare graduating seniors to learn the skills and earn certificates that would prepare them to enter the local workforce if they choose to do so.
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, power generation maintenance (mechanic and electrician), welding trades, and heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning.
NMC also has various courses for graduating high school students seeking higher education.