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Congressional Delegation Meets with NMC Officials (August 15, 2008)

Congressional Staff members recently met with officials of the Northern Marianas College to discuss the College's key role as the Federal Government assumes control of the CNMI's labor and immigration function. Central to their discussion was the CNMI's workforce development needs and the implementation of rules and regulations that guide the U.S. student visa program.

In the meeting with the nine-member congressional staff delegation and Tee Abraham, NMC Dean of Community Programs and Services, NMC President Dr. Carmen Fernandez stressed that the College is gearing to provide the necessary training to fill any gaps that would result from the anticipated departure of many foreign laborers. At the same time, President Fernandez also sought the staffers' support for financial assistance to fund the implementation of the U.S. Apprenticeship Training Program, which would enable NMC to offer technical trades courses.

"We have always worked aggressively to expand current programs and to implement new ones that ensure the CNMI's workforce is the most highly skilled and educated in the region," said President Fernandez. "The staffers' visit to NMC underscores the Federal Government's strong support of these efforts."

Another key concern highlighted at the meeting was the implementation of the federal student visa program. President Fernandez indicated that the College is currently assessing the impact of the visa program, particularly its impact on NMC's ability to recruit foreign students.

The congressional delegation consisted of Anthony Babauta, Brian Modeste, and Richard Stanton of the House Committee on Natural Resources Subcommittee on Insular Affairs; Blake Chisam and David Shahoulian of the Committee on the Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, Refugees, Border Security, and International Law; Larry Lavender and Daniel McGlinchey of the Committee on Financial Services; and, CDR Jerry Miranda and LCDR Ron Valencia of the Navy House Liaison Office.

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