By Pacific Island Times News Staff
The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration today announced the awarding of a $1.6 million grant to 500 Sails Inc. to support maritime workforce development in the Northern Marianas.
This grant, funded by the American Rescue Plan, will support the renovation and expansion of the 500 Sails boatyard that will house the Maritime Training Center, a vocational and professional training institute. The EDA investment is expected to create 76 jobs and retain four jobs, according to grantee estimates.
“This EDA investment will provide the critical infrastructure needed to expand training opportunities that lead to good-paying jobs in Northern Mariana Islands’ growing maritime sector," Commerce Secretary Gina M. Raimondo said, noting that the ARP offers direct relief to American communities "as they work to build a better America for the future."
Alejandra Y. Castillo, assistant secretary for EDA, said the 500 Sails' project will provide the infrastructure necessary to increase modern instructional programming in the maritime industry.
“The Economic Development Administration is dedicated to working with communities to support their locally-driven strategies to recover and rebuild from the pandemic,” she added.
“The U.S. Economic Development Administration’s approval of $1.6 million in American Rescue Plan funds for 500 Sails’ Maritime Training Center supports jobseekers enter new careers, the growth of local businesses in the industry, and the preservation of the indigenous seafaring traditions of the Marianas,"
Congressman Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan said.
This project is funded under EDA’s American Rescue Plan Indigenous Communities program, which allocates $100 million in ARP funding specifically to support the needs of tribal governments and indigenous communities.