Maria Connelly to lead Department of Labor - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Maria Connelly to lead Department of Labor

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 by Ken Quintanilla

Guam - Governor Eddie Calvo signed one of his first executive orders of the year placing the Agency for Human Resource Development under the Department of Labor. KUAM News sat down with the woman at the helm of the new merger.

Newly appointed director Maria Connelley says she's happy to be back at the Department of Labor saying, "I'm really excited; when the governor asked me to return, I was certain to help excited only because I'm meeting the same as who were here when I came here in 2004 and helped me build the organization before I left so it's good to be back."

Connelley previously served as the DOL director from 2004 to 2010 under former governor Felix Camacho's administration. Her appointment comes just as Calvo decided to merge DOL with AHRD. The merger should be familiar territory as it's the same organizational structure Connelley had when she first led the agency nearly a decade ago. "It should go that way, it's a marriage, it has to go that way in order for us to be able to maximize all the federal dollars coming in and be able to give the service that our clients, people who are looking for employment those who are unemployed, the disadvantaged, they're just so many things," she explained.

The Governor's Office adds the Imagine Guam Program aims to manage the growth on Guam and that requires a single-minded focus on workforce development. Connelley in the meantime she says the challenging part first coming in back in 2004 was that the agency was considered "high risk". Nearly a decade later, she says there's still room for improvement.

"The system is already there, I believe we need to work together as a team and there needs to be a lot of training we are going to bring in additional people to help us with this backlog," she added.

Her goal this time around includes building performance standards, providing more training for our local people especially for jobs as a result of the military buildup, utilizing federal funds and resources adequately and working closely with the private sector. Just as she was for the Camacho Administration, Connelley will be the fourth appointed director to the department under the Calvo Administration. She says her over 33 year background working in human resources, staffing and recruitment with the Navy is what sets her apart.

"That's the difference," she stated "in that I'm coming in from a tremendous amount of experience, in employment recruitment, employment relations, unions and all that, the entire HR that's what I bring to the table. Unlike the other people, I'm not saying they don't have that, but I don't know honestly if they have the same amount of federal experience."
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