GCC Earmark Grads Ready for Work

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Guam – After nearly seven months of training, 39 people are ready for work in the construction and electrical fields, thanks to an Earmark Congressional Grant provided by Congresswoman Madeleine Bordallo and facilitated by Guam Community College.

[Caption: Prakash Hemlani is congratulated by Victor Rodgers, Asst. Director of Continuing Education & Workforce Development, after receiving his Certificate of Completion during the Earmark Construction & Electrical Training Completion Award Ceremony at GCC yesterday.]

The 39 students in GCC’s first cohort of the grant received their Certificate of Completion in a graduation ceremony Friday, June 11, at GCC’s Multipurpose Auditorium, where guest speaker James Martinez, executive director of the Guam Contractors Association, urged them to continue on with their training and eventually earn their journeyman certificate. “A journeyman certificate is equivalent to a college degree in the vocational trades,” Martinez told the 37 men and two women graduating from the program. “You’ve got to insist on advancing your skills.”

Eighteen-year-old George Washington High School graduate Cherry Orozco, one of only two women who successfully completed the program, said she enjoyed learning how to operate the Auto CADD during her apprenticeship with dck pacific. “They taught me the basics of the construction industry and the administrative work,” Orozco said. She plans to apply at dck pacific for a full-time job and take more classes at GCC.

The Earmark Employer Partners are dck pacific, Guam Manpower Resources, Guam Marriott Resort & Spa, Guam Housing Corporation, Barrett Plumbing, KEI Construction, LLC, Budazu Electric, Wada Company, Multi-Trade Services, GTA, The Sign Man, and BBR Micronesia.

Victor Rodgers, assistant director of Continuing Education and Workforce Development at GCC and administrator of the grant program, used an analogy from his Navy days for the students. “Guam’s economy is like a ship, and all of you have just joined us at the front of the ship, moving Guam forward with your skills and training.”

The Earmark Congressional Grant program is designed to train individuals as semi-skilled craft workers in the construction and electrical fields in light of the increased need for skilled workers on the island. Graduates receive a Certification of Completion and qualify as a Construction or Electrical Semi-Skilled Worker. A significant number of the graduates have already secured jobs with companies for which they interned during the program, or after having applied on their own. Along with the training certificate, graduates are awarded undergraduate college credits and continuing education units that can be applied toward a higher postsecondary degree or certificate program.

The training program is free to qualified unemployed high school or GED graduates. Students were provided instruction in courses relative to the two different programs:

* Auto CADD

* Introduction to Construction Trades:

*  Carpentry

*   Masonry

*  Plumbing

*  Refrigeration & Air Conditioning

*  Welding & Reinforced Metal

*  Electrical

* Industrial Safety

* Basic Electricity I & II

* Electrical Wiring

* National Electrical Code

* High Voltage Splicing & Termination

* Fiber Optics Installation

* Principles of Voice & Data

* Internship

For more information on the Earmark Congressional Grant program, please contact the Continuing Education office at 735-5574 or 735-5640.