OVER 35 private companies and government agencies and more than 70 students in Saipan participated in recently held job fair, under the Public School System’s Cooperative Education program at the Saipan World Resort.
Acting education commissioner Glenn Muna said the Cooperative Education program’s goal is to help the students develop the skills needed to enter the workforce.
“Right now, the students are coming with their resume. It gives them the skills of how to market themselves when they are being interviewed,” he said, adding he is happy with the turnout of the event.
“Many of our business partners are coming back to support the cooperative program,” he said, adding “we hope to see all of our students being hired for internship and giving them the opportunity to actually get the first-hand experience on being employed, knowing the expectations such as reporting to work on time, come to work every day, dressed professionally, responding customer service, all those necessary skills to be successful in the future.
Eventually everyone is going to the workforce whether to the military or after college. It is our goal in this program to provide the students with that skills,” Muna added.
According to Brandon S. Nicolas, Public School System program coordinator, they have been conducting job fair twice a year to accommodate more students. The latest fair was held last Thursday.
“We are hoping to get even more. We will continue to reach to even more students on Saipan, Tinian and Rota. The job fair that we have now is on Saipan and we are hoping to bring it on Tinian and Rota as well,” Nicolas said in an interview.
According to Nicolas, the program is primarily for juniors and seniors because they are of working age.
“Other requirement is that they have a 2.0 GPA and good attendance – it is required not just in school but also at work,” he added.
“They have to have good attendance at school because very large part of training is exposing our students to proper work force behavior and making sure that you are on time for work and don’t missed work schedule. If students cannot commit that schedule in school, they most likely can’t commit at work,” he explained.
Prior to the job fair, Nicolas said, students were required to take cooperative education class, where they learn basic workforce skills, proper behavior and financial literacy.
“We are preparing them for the rote of work. So when they come to the cooperative training, they are ready,” he said.
Jeaniffer H. Cubangbang, Marianas High School’s Cooperative Education and Career Technical Education teacher, said they teach the students in the program how to get employed and be college-ready and career-ready.
“We are also helping to build sustainability and build capacity within the CNMI, especially we have been so dependent on contract workers and CWs,” she said.
One of the student-applicants is Jewel Cubangbang, MHS senior students, said this is the third time to participate in the coop job fair.
“It is a great learning for students like me to really get a job and be flexible in school schedules.”
Another MHS student Francisco Tuwun said the cooperative training has helped him a lot in improving his personality.
“I gained new skills. I worked with the companies under the coop training and education program. I gained skills that are necessary to apply for a job.”
This is the third for Tuwun to participate in the program. As a result, he was able to work at the Pacific Islands Club and the Corral Ocean Point hotels in the past semesters.
“It made me more enthusiastic and not shy. I learned new vocabulary words. I learned to be more proficient, to be professional. I learned to talk politely. I learned techniques on how to be more organized,” Tuwun, who is graduating this year, said.
MHS sophomore student Rachel Apritado said this is her first time to participate in the job fair.
“I was overwhelmed, but I know what to expect because we were taught how to have confidence, especially during the interview. We were also taught the proper way on how to deal with people that we never know before and social skills enhancement,” she said.
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