Call Center training forging ahead, despite one pull out
The Call Center Training Facility project is moving forward with January next year the target to start training for this project, which is overseen by the Department of Human Resources, to train some 1,500 residents in the call center industry, according to acting chief procurement officer Ivy Taufa’asau.
In her final decision in September, Taufa’asau awarded the contract for the $1.5 million project to share between California-based American Pacific Resources Inc. (APR) and Honolulu-based American Samoa Services Associates Corporation (ASSAC) — for both companies to work collaboratively to carry out this project.
However, ASSAC last month informed DHR director Evelyn Vaitautolu Langford that the company was pulling out of the project and all its plans for operating in the territory due mainly to ASSAC’s request for a waiver for a 50/50 match in funds, which they say Gov. Togiola Tulafono declined to do. (See Monday’s edition for more details)
Responding to media questions, Taufa’asau says the project “is still ongoing” and final details of the project are being ironed out with APR with the contract “being processed for their final review and signature.” She said January of 2012 is the anticipated time frame for the project to be launched.
Langford said two weeks ago that DHR anticipates the initial training sessions for this project at the beginning of January 2012 and she was confident in getting the training facility moving forward.
E-mail questions sent to APR official Michael McDonald in September as well as this week remain unanswered. A telephone call Wednesday to McDonald’s cell phone was unsuccessful.
According to the request for proposal, the training facility should be located on Tutuila; be operational within 75 days of the award of the contract; operate for a minimum of eighteen months; provide Call Center training for a minimum of 1,500 people with a priority given to qualified American Samoa National Emergency Grant participants; and show evidence of being able to place its graduates in full-time jobs in the Call Center industry in American Samoa.
Samoa News understands APR is owned by Sen. Alo Stevenson’s daughter, Paula, and her husband Michael McDonald. Unanswered questions to the APR officials include an inquiry as to whether APR is also required to put up a 50/50 match in funds — which in this case, since ASSAC has pulled out, would be for the full cost of the project.