Gov. Ralph DLG Torres explicitly laid out before U.S. Congress the CNMI’s challenge in addressing the CNMI’s shortage of construction workers, particularly at this time when so many infrastructure projects are in the pipeline.
Speaking at a radio news briefing last Friday, Torres said he and all governors in insular areas had a meeting last Thursday at 12am with Delegate Gregorio Kilili C. Sablan (Ind-MP), who presided over a Natural Resources Committee hearing.
In that hearing, Torres and other governors had the opportunity to tell Congress how the Biden administration’s Build Back Better Plan would benefit the CNMI and other U.S. territories.
The governor said he underscored at that meeting the importance of addressing the construction workers’ issue as a priority.
He said he looks forward to working with the Northern Marianas Technical Institute in pushing hard to address the shortfall in the construction workforce.
“We have a lot of infrastructure here on the island that need to be upgraded,” said the governor, citing Commonwealth Utilities Corp. projects.
He also mentioned that the Northern Marianas College has close to $100 million for various projects, while the Public School System will be getting more than $250 million for projects.
On road projects, there is the Route 36 project; the Beach Road project that will be kicking off in the next couple of months; the Airport Road project that they want to resurface; and the Industry Drive project.
Torres said with all those road projects that the administration needs to fix, the shortage of construction workers is an issue.
“But we are pushing hard on getting on more construction workers here, and especially working with NMTI in pushing that part of the workforce that we need,” the governor said.