Togiola pleased with preparation of ASNEG participants to Guam
UTULEI— In preparation for the departure of the American Samoa National Emergency Grant (ASNEG) Program participants to work in Guam this Thursday, February 23, Governor Togiola Tulafono expressed his gratitude to Guam Governor Eddie Calvo, the U.S. Department of Labor and the Territory’s Department of Human Resources for making the project available to American Samoa.
"I would like to thank Governor Calvo for inviting us to participate with them in this project. It’s something that we had hoped to try and accomplish by ourselves but now with their cooperation it has made it more viable and cost-effective. This is another way for us to reach out to job markets to expand our outlook on jobs that can be available to our own young people and skilled workers to gain employment to help take care of their families," said Togiola.
"The collective efforts on this project will open up new opportunities and new avenues for us and we will learn how best to capitalize on our human resource and our human capital, not only for our workforce in government, but also in expanding our economic outlook on jobs available to American Samoans. I wish to also thank U.S. Labor Secretary Ray LaHood and our Human Resources Director Lt. Col. Evelyn Vaitautolu Langford and her hard working staff for the wonderful work that they continue to do in thoroughly preparing our workforce that will be sent to Guam. I am very pleased with our preparation and I congratulate our participants and I wish them well in Guam,” he said.
The training services for the participants are made available through the Workforce Development component of the U.S. Department of Labor NEG in the amount of $24.2 million that was awarded to the Department of Human Resources in response to the 2009 earthquake-tsunami disaster and the Chicken of the Sea plant closure.
The amount of $12.3 million was expended towards the provision of temporary disaster jobs for 2,361 participants that was in direct response to the clean-up and recovery efforts that began in October 2009. The remainder of the grant funds was programmed for Workforce Development activities which have resulted in approximately 42% of the participants exiting the program and 30% of these individuals entering unsubsidized employment opportunities.
In preparation for the training activities, 30 eligible participants have been identified for participation in the program. The participants must be U.S. Citizens or U.S. Nationals and must successfully meet all other screening and interview criteria established by CME. The participants have begun Social Acculturation training by trainers from Guam. The participants are scheduled to depart with the trainers this Thursday night, February 23rd.
Togiola said the remainder of the participants are enrolled in On-the-Job training and Work Experience Internships in the private and public sector, Culinary Training at the first American Samoa Culinary Academy located in Malaeimi, Interactive Training System at the American Samoa Community College Institute of Trades and Technology using KeyTrain as a complete interactive training system for career readiness skills, based on ACT’s WorkKeys assessment system and the National Career Readiness Certificate Program.
Two developing initiatives include the Fiber Optic Training in partnership with the American Samoa Telecommunications Authority and the Contact Center training that is set to launch late February.
The governor said as part of the Workforce Development strategy for the ASNEG Program, the program allows enrolled participants the opportunity to participate in NEG-funded training such as: occupational skills training, which includes training for nontraditional employment, on-the-job training, and programs that combine workplace training with related instruction.
These programs include cooperative and adult education, and literacy activities and training operated by the private sector. Also part of the training are the upgrading of skills for job readiness and customized training that is conducted with a commitment by an employer or group of employers to employ an individual upon successful completion of the training.
The most recent training and employment activity added to the American Samoa NEG initiatives has been an essential program for Guam, which will develop the Pacific region workforce with the establishment and implementation of a development center to more effectively share scarce workforce development resources.
This is also to ensure that as many people in the region, in particular from the Pacific Islands, are afforded the opportunity to benefit from jobs resulting from the military realignment of U.S. military forces in Asia.
Through communications with Governor Calvo’s Chief of Staff, Mr. Frank Arriola and Governor Togiola’s Chief Legal Counsel, Mr. Toetasi Tuiteleapaga, the invitation for dialogue began last summer after the annual Federal Region Council meetings in San Francisco, CA. The information was relayed to the ASG Department of Human Resources, the umbrella agency for the NEG and Workforce Investment Act (WIA) programs.
Mr. Arriola provided a summary of the program that is implemented with the Center for Micronesian Empowerment, the Guam Community College and the Guam Contractors Association Trades Academy.
The satellite job corps center works directly with private employers located at the Udoku Workforce Housing and Training Village, as well as other contractors in the community associated with the Guam Chamber of Commerce, the Guam Contractors Association and the Guam Hotel and Restaurant Association in placing workers, a few of the major private sector partners in this program.
The program itself offers a highly structured boot camp environment that will:
1. Assess, screen and begin initial training for the participants in American Samoa.
— Utilizing a nationally recognized math, reading comprehension and information processing assessment program (WorkKeys/Key Train)
— Screen participants for health risk factors
— Provide a criminal background check and also provide drug screening.
— Interviews by private sector human resource professionals from Guam working with employers.
2. Provide room, board and security for the participants in a brand new state of the art worker housing facility. It is the only facility that meets all requisite federal standards for Department of Defense contracts related to the military buildup. In addition the participants are put through a rigorous daily routine that includes morning calisthenics, transportation to and from training, evening tutorials, career and personal counseling, and organized recreational activities.
3. Provide assimilation training where the participant is taught work ethics, the importance of work socialization, life skills necessary to succeed in the local community, the laws of the community and their rights as workers. Finally, they are informed of the variety of public service programs available to them.
4. Provide workforce preparedness training where the necessary workforce documentation for participants are obtained, work clothes, and basic personal equipment provided, and participants are taught how to prepare a resume, successfully interview and make follow-up inquiries about employment with employers.
5. Facilitate training to the participant based upon the skill set the participant wishes to master. The training is offered through training partners at the Guam Community College, the Guam Contractors Association, and other private training providers in the community including contractors capable of offering certified training. As part of this process, participants are provided career counseling and assistance in selecting the skills training desired.
6. Place students in private sector employment in the community. Equally important participants are tracked and are assisted in transitioning into the community. Each participant is monitored for up to six months from leaving the program to monitor his or her progress in becoming a successful participant in the workforce.
To facilitate this employment and training opportunity, Togiola approved the request from the ASNEG to initiate the training service provider contract with the Center for Micronesian Empowerment for $665,000 that includes the program training expenses, certification in a Construction Craft program and supportive services for the ASNEG participants.
This programs comprises a delivery program that has demonstrated successful outcomes in unsubsidized employment with retention and wages in its previous training groups from the Micronesian states.
The CME has also hired a Program Liaison to assist the participants with any language barriers, establish a cultural and spiritual support network, serve as a point of contact for the CME Director ASNEG Program Manager with grant reporting and monitoring requirements and work in cooperation with the Guam Department of Labor WIA staff for case management services in their One Stop Career Service Center.
The training service provider contract was finalized thru the ASG Office of Procurement on February 7, 2012.
Although this program provides training and employment activities through a structured curriculum program, all ASNEG participants have been advised by their Case Workers that they may apply directly to the Guam Department of Labor Job Bank for employment opportunities.
If selected, the employer assumes the expenses for relocation of the candidate. Guam must comply with the federal mandate for hiring which is priority hiring preference for local Guam residents, U.S. Citizens and U.S. Nationals first before considering any foreign hires.