In recent weeks, a quick turn of the tassel has marked a seismic shift in the lives of many of our island’s young people.

We congratulate those who graduated from high school and college. We hope that they celebrate this milestone, which reflects years of hard work and perseverance.

We thank the families who supported these graduates. Parents made sacrifices to give their children the best chance to succeed in school and to prepare for the competitive labor market.

We hope that graduates will be able to find good job prospects on Guam. Young people should be able to find jobs that match their knowledge and skills. Just as important, they should be able to find meaningful employment to support themselves and their own families.

If graduates do leave Guam for other academic or employment opportunities, we hope that one day they will consider returning and reinvigorating our economy – and our community – with their talents.

The classes of 2019 can play a large role in making our island a better place. They can promote our local culture and language as well as protect our environment. They can increase acceptance of all kinds of diversity and promote inclusivity in the workforce and throughout the community. With their innovative ideas and enthusiasm, they can create jobs by launching and expanding businesses. With their technological skills, they can unlock doors or open new pathways so that the government of Guam can become more modern and efficient. And with their passion, they can give back to the community through activism and volunteer work.

We hope that their efforts will help ease the brain drain. Many of our island’s best and brightest leave Guam because they found not only better opportunities but also a lower cost of living and higher quality of life elsewhere.

Our community must work harder on making Guam an affordable and attractive place to stay. Educational institutions must ensure a close match between skills and jobs. GovGuam must ensure a business-friendly climate that is conducive to the growth of small companies and startups. It must ensure a diversified economy that can support a variety of well-paying jobs.

We all have a stake in encouraging young people to invest in our island home.

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