Presenters Engage Leaders in Important Regional Issues
China Visa Waiver, Military Buildup, Regional Planning Councils, Renewable Energy and Workforce Development fill MCES morning agenda
March 14, 2012
MCES Presentation:  China Visa Waiver
Regional leaders participating in the 17th MCES finished a busy morning of presentations discussing various issues such as tourism, renewable energy and workforce development.
Governor Eddie Baza Calvo’s Senior Policy Advisor Attorney Arthur Clark spoke briefly about the China Visa Waiver program and its importance to Guam and the region.  Highlighting that Guam’s Airport is ranked the eighth highest port of entry receiving foreign nationals in the U.S.
Attorney Clark said that according to the Guam Visitors Bureau for 115 visitors, one new core job is created.  In addition, Attorney Clark, is optimistic that the federal government will soon come to a final decision regarding China Visa Waivers.  “We’re moving closer toward a final resolution,” Attorney Clark said.
“I want to thank President Mori and Governor Fitial for being so supportive of the China Visa Waiver for Guam.  What success occurs in the CNMI and Guam translates into success for the U.S.,” Governor Calvo said.  “This will expand in terms of economic growth for Micronesia.”
MCES Presentation:  Military Realignment on Guam
Director of the Guam Military Buildup Office Mark Calvo gave an update on the military buildup on Guam and assured leaders that the military buildup will happen on Guam.
“The buildup on Guam will happen,” Mark Calvo said.  Though current numbers of military personnel expected to come to Guam have been reduced to about 4,700, Mark Calvo is confident plans will be completed and approved by the end of summer 2012.
Should these timelines occur, Mark Calvo informed leaders that peak construction for Guam will occur by at least 2017.
MCES Presentation:  Reducing Power Costs
Consolidated Commission on Utilities Chairman Simon Sanchez presented information on one of the issues that topped Micronesian leaders’ list of concerns.  He spoke about the different ways to mitigate the cost of energy and the need for an organized approach to energy solutions.
Sanchez presented information about funding from the federal government that has helped to draft a Guam Energy Task Force Vision with the goal of utilizing solar, solar thermal and wind to diversify the way the community generates energy.
“There are no instant solutions,” Sanchez said. “It’s going to take the citizenry of our communities.  This will require a framework,” he said highlighting the need for an organized approach to energy conservation.
Sanchez also spoke of a new program being developed that will allow rate-payers to control their power consumption and turn appliances off via smart phones.  In addition, he spoke of the Guam Power Authority’s ongoing initiatives for renewable energy.
MCES Presentation:  Workforce Development
Agency for Human Resource Development Acting Director Alfredo Antolin and PWIW Chairman Peter Barcinas spoke to MCES participants about workforce development.
One of the goal areas is the development of skills and talents among the workforce.  Barcinas spoke of the various strategies that can be adopted by Micronesian chief executives to establish workforce training programs and resources.   In addition, he emphasized the need to follow federal guidelines and structures to further strengthen employment opportunities for Micronesian communities and increase funding for these efforts.
MCES Presentation:  Towards a Strategic Framework
The Mayor of National City in San Diego, California, Ron Morrison, joined regional leaders for the 17th MCES this morning.  He spoke about the potential benefits of a Micronesia partnership with the National Association of Regional Councils, a non-governmental organization that works to support the needs of local governments.
NARC Executive Director Fred Abousleman also joined Mayor Morrison to advocate for Micronesia’s participation as a member of NARC.  According to their official website, NARC members are a dedicated group of local elected officials and professionals who work with community leaders and citizens in several core areas, such as transportation, community and economic development, environmental quality, homeland security and emergency preparedness.
MCES Presentation:  Center for Micronesian Empowerment
CME Executive Director Jay Merrill also spoke to the chief executives about workforce development and the ongoing growth of the local workforce.  He mentioned the need for an increased need for allied medical health professionals because of the construction of a new hospital on Guam.
The CME’s goal is to create a centralized regional workforce development center.  Working with federal contractors and through implementing various programs, the CME has successfully trained and placed hundreds of program participants.
For copies of these presentations or for more information, contact Natalie Quinata at 488-6013.

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