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In the job market today, having an AA degree will not guarantee you will get a good paying job, because the job market has drastically changed, said Governor Lolo Matalasi Moliga who was keynote speaker at the fifty-ninth commencement ceremony  at the ASCC, last Friday, where 150+ students graduated.


Governor Lolo used lyrics from the well-known Sister Act movie, “If you wanna be somebody, If you wanna go somewhere, you better wake up and pay attention,” as part of his speech. He noted that when this movie came out that phrase stuck with him throughout time.


“Today (Friday) we are celebrating the fact, that you have made conscious… you definitely want to go somewhere and for you to go somewhere you certainly need a good education.


“The fact that you are receiving your degree today is that you did pay attention. It is also quite clear that you all want to be somebody, but what we all know to become somebody in today’s society is to get a good job to generate the income so you can purchase the luxury of life associated with the status of being somebody.”


Lolo said we all know that for you to get a good paying job, you need to have a good education, unfortunately getting an AA degree does not guarantee a good paying job, because the job market today has drastically changed, and he pointed to what he called alarming statistics revealed during the governor’s association meeting he attended last month.


He said, “…the statistics quoted in that symposium …revealed the severe reduction in the number of jobs which require a high school diploma.” Based on the stats, Lolo noted that in 1965 79% of US jobs required a high school diploma, while in today’s market the percentage is 44% (a 35% drop).


Lolo continued that the same 1965 survey pointed to 10% of US jobs required a BA degree; with only 11% requiring a masters degree or above. In contrast today, “28 % require a BA degree and 37% require a master degree or above, moreover the number with just an AA is also sharply declining and this statistic clearly shows that if you want to go somewhere and for you to be someone you must commit yourself to continue your education to attain a bachelors degree.”


The governor pointed out that this scenario is also being played out in the government and the territory, noting in the recent Education Summit there is a demand that all teachers must start teaching with BA degrees to improve the quality of the education system in American Samoa.


“Although this is a very ambitious goal, we will not be good stewards if we fail to adequately prepare and equipped all our children with superior education tools and core values that will guarantee the attainment of their respective goals and aspirations,” he said.


Governor Lolo said he wished he could say without hesitation that the future of American Samoa is bright, however it’s filled with many challenges not only in education, but in the general government.


“We are currently facing many difficult challenges, because we don’t have control of our own destiny, our government relies on the federal government to bound over 16% of its operating activities, and the federal government itself is also facing their own economic predicament which was demonstrated in the recent federal government shutdown with the expectation it will continue to happen when Congress continues to review financial issues,” he said.


But he noted, students’ successes in real life depends solely on the student, and “it’s the government’s job to make sure that you and all the future generations of American Samoa are given the educational tool and the ability for you to go somewhere and become somebody.”


There was one student with 3.75-3.89 GPA’s who is the magna cum laude, Soenghee Hong with six cum laude’s holding 3.50-3.74 GPA, which are Nokolai Alasi Alo, Semurai Si’igava’a Faleali’i, Paul Ala’ituasivi Saulo Jr, Zerahemla Saraemila Mamea, Maria Larraine Dela Cruz Magalasin, Witt Mariner and Zihao Zeng.