In response to the U.S. Attorney General’s “Smart on Crime” Initiative in 2013, which called for a review of the criminal justice system by the U.S. Department of Justice in order to identify reforms that would ensure federal laws are enforced more fairly and efficiently, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Districts of Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands organized a “One Community Guam: Workforce Development Training” and a “One Community CNMI: Workforce Development Training” focused on crime prevention, strengthening protections for vulnerable populations, and reentry.
The Guam and NMI coalitions—composed of nonprofit and civic organizations, the faith-based community, Consular Corps, the private sector, and government agencies and military counterparts—recognized that the goals of crime prevention, strengthening protections for vulnerable populations, and reentry of offenders require that there be community ownership and a true community response that address the critical and fundamental issues affecting the day-to-day lives of the community’s children and families, including public safety, education, employment, housing, healthcare, and family sustainability, with all sectors (government, nonprofit and private) collaborating to provide an effective comprehensive response to these needs.
Training was provided by several DOJ components, including the Office of Justice Programs, Federal Bureau of Prisons, and the National Institute of Corrections – Community Services Division; U.S. Department of Labor; U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission; U.S. Department of Homeland Security; U.S. Small Business Administration; U.S. Department of Agriculture; Guam Department of Labor; CNMI Department of Labor; CNMI Department of Commerce; and other federal and local agencies and service providers.
The speakers discussed topics such as the state of the economy and labor force; job training resources, including education, apprenticeships and community-based resources; working with senior citizens and persons with disabilities; working with veterans and service members; employment and labor laws; immigration laws and processes; the role of the court system and court personnel in reentry; improving offender employment; engaging families in reentry, including supporting children of incarcerated parents and families of children in custody; cultural competency; health care; child care; housing and transportation; and grants and funding resources for government agencies, nonprofits and service providers.
Opening remarks in Guam and the NMI were given by U.S. Attorney Alicia Limtiaco, with videotaped special messages from U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch, U.S. Labor Secretary Thomas Perez, and Guam Delegate Madeline Z. Bordallo. Remarks were also given by Guam Gov. Eddie Calvo, CNMI Gov. Eloy Inos, Guam Speaker Judith Won Pat, CNMI Senate President Victor B. Hocog, Guam Chamber of Commerce president David Leddy, and Saipan Chamber of Commerce president Alex Sablan.
Over 400 people attended the three-day training in Guam and over 200 people attended the two-day training on Saipan. The training was groundbreaking and the first of its kind in both districts, bringing together the public and private sectors and the labor force to discuss available resources and region-specific obstacles to a healthy employed community. The training has inspired regular working group meetings by these sectors to review, address and resolve the issues discussed at the event. (USAO)