Guam – Jordan Elizaga still has six more years of schooling before he earns his mechanical engineering degree, but according to the WorkKeys assessment administered by Guam Community College, he’s already at the skill level needed for that profession.
Elizaga, a junior at John F. Kennedy High School, is the first high school student on Guam to score at the platinum level on the WorkKeys assessment. He is one of 54 JFK students who completed the assessment this school year.
[Jordan Elizaga, a junior at JFK High School, displays his platinum WorkKeys certificate and $100 with, from left, Lori Montague, JFK business teacher; Asherdee Rosetti, JFK VP; Rosemarie Nanpei, GCC CTE counselor at JFK; Chelsa Muna-Brecht, GCC program specialist; Romeo, Jordan, and Leonora Elizaga; Dr. Barbara Adamos, JFK principal; Dr. Kelly Sukola and Hannah Gutierrez, JFK VPs; and Amanda Wooley, JFK business teacher. In back, Victor Rodgers, GCC Asst. Director, Continuing Education & Workforce Development.]
“That level is reserved for engineers, doctors, and other highly skilled technical professions,” said Victor Rodgers, GCC Asst. Director of Continuing Education & Workforce Development. The CEWD Office administers the WorkKeys program to island businesses, and has teamed up with the Guam Chamber of Commerce to offer the assessment to public high school students. The assessment measures a person’s skills in comparison to over 18,000 occupations, and offers a KeyTrain training component to allow someone to increase their skill level. The assessment’s skill levels are bronze, silver, gold, and platinum.
“Taking this assessment allows the students to build confidence in themselves and in their abilities,” Rodgers said. “The beauty of WorkKeys is that it allows students who don’t score as high to go into the KeyTrain portion of the program and upgrade their skills. For students like Jordan, it validates his skill level, and may help him to get a scholarship,” Rodgers added.
Elizaga is planning to attend college on the mainland, and says he wants to be a mechanical engineer and build cars. “It’s a more hands-on, more creative form of engineering,” he said.
The youngest of the three children of Romeo and Leonora Elizaga, Jordan helps his father, who works in the construction industry, with projects around the house. Other than that, “we just tell him to do his homework,” said Leonora.
Jordan, who also plays tennis, attributes his platinum score with the fact that he really likes to learn. “I study hard and I always have the support of my parents,” he said.
Elizaga was also excited about earning $100 with his platinum score. Rodgers previously announced to all the high school students taking the assessment that he would give $100 to the first student who scored at the platinum level.