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25 out of 30 ASNEG trainees hired for work in Guam

Gov. Togiola Tulafono says House Speaker Savali Talavou Ale will represent the government and the people of American Samoa at this week’s graduation for the local group who are in Guam training for employment.

The group of thirty participants under the American Samoa National Emergency Grant (ASNEG) program, administered by the local Department of Human Resources, traveled to Guam early this year for the  six-month training program, which is a public-private partnership between the American Samoa Government, the Ukudu Workforce Housing and Training Village and the Center for Micronesian Empowerment (CME).

Speaking on his weekend radio program, the governor said that graduation for the 30 participants will be this week and the House Speaker will represent American Samoa at the ceremony.

The good news, said the governor, is that of the 30 participants, 25 of them have been hired in Guam and will maintain their employment there. He said the participants started moving out of dorms last week into the new homes where they will reside while working in Guam.

The governor didn’t specify the type of jobs the participants were able to secure, but a main focus of the local group is the military build up in Guam, which is creating a large amount of construction and specialized skills jobs.

DHR director Evelyn Vaitautolu Langford said last month that the first ASNEG participant to be hired in Guam was Fue Tili Jr., who now works as a heavy equipment operator for Watts Constructors on the Naval Base.

She also said that CME staff are assisting the participants as they transition into permanent jobs with housing and transportation arrangements. The participants will be paying for their own housing and transportation with wages received from their jobs.

On his radio program the governor also said that a new criticism has surfaced, which questions why people are seeking jobs off-island instead of creating jobs in American Samoa so that individuals can remain here.

Togiola says the complainers are the ones who do not understand — because if the complainers knew a way to create jobs, they would be quick to get it done.

He said the government depends on the private sector in the creation of jobs —which is not the sole responsibility of the local government. He said the government also depends on people to establish businesses to create new jobs.

The governor stated that the complainers should come up with ideas to create jobs  — not just complain without action. He suggested they, the complainers and critics, establish a business that will employ ten people and then they can complain from here to heaven — but at least something good has been done for American Samoa, instead of just complaining.

The governor challenged the complainers to respond to this good news that the 25 people sent off-island now have jobs to help their families back home.

Togiola says the government will continue to seek funds for the ASNEG program. He said the main goal is to find ways to employ local residents, whether locally in the private sector or government or off island — even in sports.