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ASCC apprentice welders on the job

“This is the first group, and we anticipate more to be hired after most of their courses are completed,” said Fred Suisala, Apprenticeship Coordinator with the Trades & Technology Division (TTD) at the American Samoa Community College (ASCC) upon receiving the good news that five Welding apprentices have been hired by private contractor KDF Welding & Fabrication Company to assist with the construction of a multi-level structural platform that will become an office addition to the KS Mart building.


The five apprentices, Garfield Himphill, Jonathan Faleafaga, Penita Chong Nee, Tommy Correia and Seti Lito, will work as assistants to the KDF master welder as well as perform basic welding tasks. They are among the 24 students enrolled in the “Welding Fundamentals & Metallurgy” class taught by Mr. Anetone Fuga as part of the Apprenticeship Program now in its sixth week at ASCC. The program, certified by the US Department of Labor (USDOL), gives men and women currently employed in the trades (which include Welding, Electrical, Carpentry and Automotive) an opportunity to combine classroom instruction with on-the-job experience towards the goal of achieving professional certification or “Journeyman” status within their field.


Himphill, Faleafaga, Chong Nee, Correia and Lito are sponsored in the ASCC Apprenticeship Program by the Department of Youth and Women’s Affairs (DYWA). KDF head Mr. Tautai Faleafaga is also the hands-on instructor to provide the on-the-job training component to apprentices contracted by DYWA and evaluate their on-the-job performance. “There is a ‘Work Process’ that an employer fills-out recording the progress of each apprentice in each required category and tasks needed to be completed during the semester,” Suisala explained, adding that the TTD is currently working to have KDF Welding & Fabrication Company become a Registered Apprentice entity under the USDOL.


Suisala expressed his pride in the five students being selected to work on the project in addition to their studies with the Apprenticeship Program. “These apprentices are now receiving a pay while going through the program,” he said. “It’s a testament on how effectively a professional can develop a skill while getting paid in a minimal amount of time through the vocational training that the TTD Apprenticeship & Workforce Development is making available for not only those currently employed but also those seeking work.”


For more information on the ASCC/TTD Apprenticeship Program, contact Suisala at 699-9155, extension 353.