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Training held to strengthen community

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They've been talking about it for the past month and today hundreds of workforce development stakeholders gathered as one to kickoff a special training aimed at helping those at risk, disadvantaged or facing severe hardships in life.

It's the Guam community coming together as one. "I think one of the biggest takeaways that we truly commit to this being a community effort, which is why we have the theme One Community Guam, that no one sector by itself can do it alone, we really have to come together," explained US Attorney Alicia Limtiaco.

Today hundreds of stakeholders from the public and private sector joined the US Attorney's Office for the first of a three-day workforce development training at the Pacific Star Resort and Spa. Limtiaco added, "This is a training in response to the Smart On Crime Initiative that was announced by then Attorney General Holder in 2013. It is an initiative that is definitely supported by our current US Attorney General Loretta Lynch, and there are three main goals of the initiative - crime prevention, strengthening protections for vulnerable populations and reentry."

Limtiaco says the initiative applies to anyone dealing with severe hardships in life whether it's caused by a mental or substance abuse issue to even gender identity or sexual preference. It can also include a victim of crime or an offender trying to reenter society, adding, "Because we all know that if we offer any person an opportunity for education, for skill set development and enhancement- jobs open, doors open for careers, self-esteem, confidence grows and we then have individuals who are more likely make and are in a much better position to make good judgment decision that could have long-lasting impacts on that person's life."

Director Maria Connelley spoke on two panels and says the Guam Department of Labor wants to offer those very opportunities, noting, "I would like to do is have more presence at the Department of Corrections and see how we can actually work with the Department of Corrections to offer more workshops and training while the inmates are still incarcerated so we prepare them before they even come out of prisons and align them with employers."

She adds Guam DOL is actually designated the state apprenticeship agency, joining 28 other states authorized by the USDOL. "I was checking and I believe here on Guam we have 360 inmates and 360 to me, we're able to work with that population. We have about 2,200 employers, so I'm really excited to work with director [Jose] San Agustin to what we can do to get this going, especially with the military buildup. I'm sure a lot of these people are able to transition into the workplace," she said.

"One Community Guam" continues until Wednesday with a similar training set for CNMI stakeholders on Thursday in Saipan.

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