- By Cherrie Anne E. Villahermosa – firstname.lastname@example.org – Variety News Staff
THE Northern Marianas Business Alliance Council, in collaboration with the Saipan Chamber of Commerce, the Hotel Association of the Northern Marianas Islands and the Society for Human Resource Management, is again reminding the business community to help document information regarding their efforts to hire U.S. qualified workers.
During its general membership meeting on Wednesday, chamber president Velma Palacios said the data will be provided to members of the U.S. Congress “so they are aware of our positive actions and also of the struggles that we have encountered.”
She added, “The more concrete data our businesses can provide to the federal government, the more they will understand our dire situation despite our various efforts to find U.S. workers locally, in our region and in the U.S. mainland.”
The federal CW program is set to end on Dec. 2019. The current CW cap, 12,998, is not enough for the islands’ recovering economy and has already resulted in a nursing shortage at the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp.
Frank Gibson of the Society for Human Resource Management is spearheading the data collection for the business alliance.
“It is not enough to say that we tried. We must provide concrete data about our recruitment efforts and show the workforce challenges we are encountering to keep our businesses operational,” Palacios said.
In an interview, she said: “We just started doing it, we just completed the templates so it’s easier for businesses to provide the information required. We are also asking the hotels and the human-resource group to send out the forms to their members so we can collect the data — we are trying to get it done in 30 days.”
She said all the documents will be submitted to the governor’s office, U.S. Congressman Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan’s office and to their consultant in Washington, D.C.
“Our consultant is working with the governor and the congressman. This is crucial. We really have to show our efforts and document them. We are trying to recruit U.S. workers. We are conducting job fairs and we send recruiters in the mainland and other jurisdictions. We are also advertising abroad. Those we manage to hire usually don’t stay for long.”