This summer, in the midst of the ongoing COVID-19 worries, 84 Guam Department of Education students completed the last of their required courses, earning a high school diploma.
Congratulations to them and to the teachers who figured out ways to help students through the summer classes to achieve their goal.
We celebrate our graduates and wish them all the luck in the world - they’re going to need it if they are planning on getting a job right after graduation.
They join the many other students who’ve graduated from public and private schools, as well as those who’ve successfully earned their degrees and certificates from the University of Guam and the Guam Community College.
Just as the novel coronavirus complicated their education, finding a job may be a steeper hill to climb.
Guam Department of Education Superintendent Jon Fernandez recently said: "I don't envy anybody who is between jobs, who's lost their job, who's been furloughed or is coming out to the job market at this time …
I would say it's not just the rainbow graduates, it's really for all of our recent graduates and for anybody in between jobs. I do think there are may be some sectors maybe able to continue hiring but those sectors are going to be few and far between.”
This year’s graduates join the thousands of Guamanians - many with years of experience - who also trying to find a job in the midst of our COVID-19 wrecked economy. More than 30,000 people have either lost their jobs or aren't working as many hours because their employers have reduced operational hours, according to the Guam Department of Labor. To help paint the picture, the most recent statistics from GDOL showed that Guam's overall workforce is roughly 65,000 - that's government and private sector.
A number of local businesses remain closed after the March shut down. Some of which have announced closure for good.
All of these businesses provided jobs. And while federal dollars and local grants have been touted as having saved the economy thus far, it’s clear from the numbers that more help is needed for displaced workers and those joining the work force.
We wish all recent graduates the very best of luck.