Legislation seeks to provide $85K for GCC apprenticeship programs

THE APPRENTICES: Guam Community College held a completion ceremony on Jan. 23 for a truck driving boot camp in Mangilao. Receiving their certificates were, from left: Allan Atalig, Mark Atoigue, Cleyton Jackson, Darrel Materne, John Mesa, Zarackai "Mike" Patrick and Spencer Stole. David Castro/The Guam Daily Post

Sen. Amanda Shelton on Friday introduced Bill 289 which proposes to appropriate $85,315 from the Manpower Development Fund to Guam Community College for workforce development and apprenticeship programs.

The fund was created by Public Law 18-48 for local manpower training programs by assessing registration fees on temporary foreign worker hires and fines levied for violation of labor laws. In 2018, the fund received a boost in earnings after the annual labor fee attached to the hiring of temporary foreign workers on H-2B visas doubled.

The fund is grown through fees paid by contractors for every H-2B visa worker arrival with 70% of this directed to the GCC for apprenticeship programs while the remaining 30% is set aside for the Guam Department of Labor for unemployment surveys and funding the department’s Alien Labor Processing Division. The current appropriation will be leveraged to support the school’s paramedic training and truck driving boot camp.

“GCC has been a critical partner in preparing our people for work and equipping them with the right skills to enter the workforce,” said Shelton. “The earnings from the Manpower Development Fund fund a variety of training programs locally that address and alleviate the current labor shortage on island. GCC has demonstrated their commitment to providing training and investing in our labor force, and I am confident these funds will put more of our people to work.”

The most recent Manpower Development Fund report from GCC cites 77 active employers hosting more than 350 apprenticeships through the island.

Referencing the report, GCC President Mary Okada said, “This information helps to demonstrate that we are strengthening our workforce through meaningful partnerships by providing training and certifications required for many of the jobs.”

In the past year, the college has held a handful of apprenticeship programs including its first truck driving boot camp and two ship transportation boot camps, both of which have produced more than 50 skilled workers.

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