GUALO RAI Saipan — A company that aims to keep information technology professionals in the Northern Mariana Islands and Guam up-to-date with the latest industry developments is open on Saipan

Clifford Shoemake former owner of Island Apparel Co. said he and his business partners set up the Marianas Resource Center LLC because the information technology age continues to develop at such rapid pace that it is causing the islands to lag behind in breakthroughs and landmark improvements in products and services.

"Because the NMI and Guam are relatively isolated from training opportunities that U.S. information technology professionals routinely take part in we consistently lag behind other countries in our ability to take advantage of new technologies " Shoemake told the Journal. He said "Equipment and services that were considered cutting edge only five years ago are now considered dinosaurs. Today’s emerging technologies only have a viable shelf life of a few months rather than a few years as it was in the past.

"The problem is that with technology developing so quickly the CNMI and Guam are rapidly falling behind our neighbors like Japan Korea and the Philippines. This affects the costs that we pay for equipment and services as well as the quality of services available."

The MRC conducted a five-day course in October dubbed Interconnecting Cisco Network Devices. It was held in one of the computer labs at Saipan Southern High School in Koblerville. Nine information technology professionals from Saipan took part in the course.

Shoemake said the ICND is an instructor-led course presented by Cisco Systems Inc.

The five-day course focused on using Cisco Catalyst switches and Cisco routers connected in local-area networks and wide-area networks typically found at small to medium network sites. Upon completion of this training course the participants were expected to be able to select connect configure and troubleshoot the various Cisco networking devices. The ICND is recommended training for individuals seeking certification as a Cisco Certified Network Associate.

Shoemake said the seminar is part of MRC’s goal to help the NMI and Guam’s information technology professionals remain current with emerging technologies by providing high quality training courses in a variety of information technology areas. He said Cisco Networking Devices and Network Security are two areas that have immediately been identified as focal points. The MRC officially opened on Sept. 5.

According to Shoemake the company will eventually have a physical center that will include a computer lab. He said MRC is not a traditional information technology school. "Course offerings are determined by the needs of the local information technology professionals that currently provide services to our businesses schools and government. The courses are driven by the need to stay current with emerging technology and the immediate needs of our information technology community " he said. Shoemake told the Journal that CISCO testing and certifications are currently being established.

Aside from Shoemake MRC’s other founders are Michael Brazel former Saipan manager for Takagi and Associates Inc. an insurance firm;  Ann director of Turning Point Learning Center and Michael’s wife and Roy Ortizo system engineer at Saipancell Communications and MRC’s project consultant. MBJ