GCC building a local workforce to fill jobs at Guam Shipyard
By Pacific Island Times News Staff
Which comes first: the ships or the jobs?
“It is a chicken or an egg thing,” Guam Community College president Mary A. Y. Okada said, noting the growing labor demand in the shipyard industry.
“Guam Shipyard sees the demand that is coming,” Okada said today at GCC’s ceremony recognizing 13 graduates of the latest round of pre-apprenticeship boot camp.
“They see the need to increase the capacity for Guam, we need to provide the talent here on Guam in order for the ships to come, but we need the ships on Guam to identify that we need talent,” the GCC president said.
Okada said GCC is currently balancing the two requirements.
“If Guam has the local workforce, they will get more work; they’ll get more projects,” she said. “Economic diversification development here on Guam is only going to increase. That has been the driver for all the boot camps here at GCC.”
GCC’s 14-week Ship Repair Boot Camp VII began on July 5 and ended Sept. 23. There was a slight delay in startup due to Typhoon Mawar in May.
Participants took classes in Refrigeration and Air Conditioning I, Shielded Metal Arc Welding I, and Heartsavers, First Aid and CPR. They also completed courses in WorkKeys, Work Ethic, and OSHA 10.
The 13 who completed the boot camp will be officially employed at Guam Shipyard starting Friday.
“We look forward to more boot camps here at GCC because we definitely need more employees at Guam Shipyard,” said Matthews Pothen, president of Guam Shipyard.
“This couldn’t be a better transition from school to work. Thank you to the family members, they couldn’t have done it without you all, your support is crucial,” Pothen said.
Marilyn C. Alpet, one of the 13 who completed the boot camp, described the training as a rollercoaster ride.
"But it was all worth it,” Alpet said. “We have learned so much during the process. We overcame barriers that were thrown our way and still managed to get it done."
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“Take this opportunity to thank your families, the Guam Shipyard team and the amazing team here at GCC for this opportunity,” said Frank Arriola, chairman of GCC Board of Trustees. “Never take for granted this chance at a very good life and career. These are the moments that our team works so very hard for… to fulfill our mission as a leader in career and technical workforce development.”
The next Ship Repair bootcamp will be announced at a later date. There are several other bootcamps in line for later this year. For more information contact the Continuing Education and Workforce Development office at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 671-735-5640.