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Saipan Tribune: NMC Offers Courses to Help Build Local Workforce (February 9, 2018)

The Northern Marianas College is offering eight new courses that are expected to boost the CNMI’s efforts to wean itself from its dependence on foreign workers, according to NMC president Dr. Carmen Fernandez.

She announced the eight new course offerings during the Saipan Chamber of Commerce general membership last Wednesday at the Hyatt Regency Saipan Sandcastle.

The new courses are basic law enforcement, business management, computer applications, fire science technology, hospitality operations, nursing assistant, small business management, and casino management. “We now offer relevant courses that will give certificates of completion and accomplishing one course only takes 30 credits. Unlike Associate of Arts, which requires 60 credits and a Bachelor’s Degree that requires 120 credits, the new courses will equip students the needed skills in a short amount of time,” Fernandez said.

She said the certificate of completion is the fastest way to be highly qualified in the job market. Fernandez said the casino management course will be very useful for people who want to work in the casino industry. “When everything is open, they’re going to need and employ at least 1,000 employees or more,” she said.

Aside from being a main source of revenue, the operations of a casino is 24 hours, with the need for workers that will always man the tables, Fernandez added. She assured that NMC has access to qualified instructors for the new courses and the class schedule is flexible to suit the need of students. “The courses are open to walk-ins and for company in-house training where companies can send a group of their employees so we can teach them,” she said. “The courses require 30 credits, where three credits are equivalent to 45 hours but we can also conduct it in an accelerated pace. We can do one class after the other or we can do it in a shorter time frame because the normal schedule is 16 weeks and we can do six or eight weeks to fit in the company’s schedule,” she added.

Fernandez said the minimum number of students to start a class is 10, but it can go lower. “It is nice to have 10 but if it’s really urgent and pressing we can always start at a lower number—five to seven students. The courses are open to everybody but what we are trying to do is prepare local people to slowly take over the CW jobs,” she said. “Anyone who can pay can join [a class], whether citizen or not. If a company has a group of employees and future employees, they can come to the program and in this case, the company would be the one paying for the course on behalf of the employees,” said Fernandez.

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