Guam – Guam Shipyard Tuesday honored the 7 Guam Community College Apprenticeship program graduates who are now journey workers at its company, and Mathews Pothen, Guam Shipyard president, says the company is getting ready to hire 30 more apprentices later this year.
Pothen asked the seven new journey workers – Russell W. Miller, mechanist; Raymond P. Ichihara, shipfitter; Daniel G. Gumataotao, pipefitter; Lynn Marie L.G. Santos, welder; Ray V. Perez and Roman Edquilane, sheetworkers; and Galo P. Baleto Jr., marine machine mechanic – to help support the incoming apprentices this fall.
[L-R: Russell W. Miller, mechanist; Raymond P. Ichihara, shipfitter; Daniel G. Gumataotao, pipefitter; Lynn Marie L.G. Santos, welder; Ray V. Perez, sheetworker; Galo P. Baleto Jr., marine machine mechanic; and Roman Edquilane, sheetmetal worker. Back row, l to r: Alfred Valles, USDOL State Director; Lt. Gov. Ray Tenorio; Mathews Pothen, Guam Shipyard President/CEO; Victor Rodgers, GCC Asst. Director, Continuing Ed. & Workforce Development; Robert Kennedy, Guam Shipyard COO, Keith Carter, Shipyard manager; and Greg Calvo, production manager.]
In his welcoming remarks at the ceremony, Lt. Gov. Ray Tenorio noted that the apprenticeship program increases the talent and the pool of skilled workers on island, elevating the capabilities of Guam’s workforce. He says the military buildup will bring even more opportunities for skilled workers in the coming years.
Victor Rodgers, GCC assistant director of Continuing Education & Workforce Development, says GCC’s apprenticeship program provides a valuable partnership between the College and the business community.
“It’s a win-win situation, because the employee gets the education and training he or she needs to excel in their chosen field, and the company gets a skilled employee that helps to increase the quality of the company’s product or services,” said Rodgers.
Lynn Marie Santos, the lone female apprentice graduate, says that even though she fell into welding by accident, she enjoys the work and plans to continue on at Guam Shipyard. She also plans to continue her education and earn her associate’s degree.
GCC graduated a record 73 apprentices this spring, the highest number ever in the program. Apprentices must be employed by a company in order to join the program, which is overseen by the U.S. Department of Labor.