by Ken Quintanilla
Guam - Public hearings continued Monday afternoon on the Draft SEIS and the possible impact the military buildup would have on the operations and needs of the Government of Guam. Today’s hearing focused on the island’s education institutions.
Since 2010, Guam Community College President Mary Okada says she has been anticipating and assessing the impact the buildup would have on the college. She told lawmakers, GCC thinks of the buildup as an opportunity for job placement for many of its students who are in the career technical fields.
“We do identify that with the buildup there would be an increase in the manpower development funding which will help train additional students on Guam so we can reduce the number of H2 workers in the years to come provided they are in the areas of not only construction but other areas surrounding manpower development,” Okada says. “One issue I do see is that based on what we’ve been doing since 2010 and now the requirement for the accountability of the college to identify job placement two years after they’ve graduated, if the jobs aren’t here, of course two years from now our data won’t be complete. If we’re training and people are anticipating as we all are, what occupational areas are going to be needed? We have yet to identify those occupational areas, we are assuming we know some of them but then our job placement numbers will not be as good.”
University of Guam president Robert Underwood meanwhile says in terms of enrollment, the university hasn’t had much impact from the military. He says the buildup is discussed intensively in classes and coursework adding UOG scientists are concerned about access to Ritidian and surrounding areas if a safety zone is applied at the wildlife refuge.
The comment period meanwhile for the draft SEIS has been extended to July 2.