SAIPAN — Regarding the reopening of the Northern Marianas Technical Institute, Gov. Ralph Torres on Tuesday said he is still awaiting the transition report from the trade school.

"There are quite a few things that we need to take into consideration," he said. "They are in transition now. I am waiting for the transition report."

He said he has supported NMTI "since day one," noting that this has been the case since the late businessman Anthony Pellegrino and Vic Cepeda opened the nonprofit trade school.

"I've been supporting NMTI since then and I've seen them grow. I'm so happy with the growth that they've had," Torres said.

At the same time, he said the CNMI needs to look at its current situation in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the over 9,000 individuals who are unemployed.

"We need to look at (what the new proposal is in) the NMTI transition report," the governor said.

He said because NMTI is a trade school its students cannot easily transition to online courses to obtain their certificates.

"So I'll be waiting for their transition report and then I guess we'll see what their proposal is, and then we'll go from there," he added.

At the NMTI board meeting on Oct. 9, only two of the seven board members – along with NMTI Chief Executive Officer Agnes McPhetres – were present. The meeting had to be canceled due to a lack of quorum.

McPhetres has said that NMTI has 300 active students, but has not recalled its 23 furloughed employees due to lack of funds.

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