Many of the stories in this issue of the Journal relate to labor or the labor market in one form or another and how businesses are doing.
Construction is important, particularly as it is one constant in a dismal labor market, thanks to COVID.
While the Guam Chamber of Commerce has a diversification plan — it cannot come quick enough for the thousands of our residents who are unemployed and will see federal support dry up.
And working for the government is no certainty either — the Northern Mariana Islands is a fine example of an administration that has taken the hard decisions on its labor force — with the resultant shortage of government jobs and reduction of hours.
We commend the Government of the NMI for facing reality — though its business community members fare far better than their cousins in Guam.
Construction is a dirty business, and hard work — but rewarding and well-paid.
For many of our young people (and not so young people) who are searching for jobs it offers the certainty of decades of work, maintenance work and a guaranteed income. The industry welcomes women, and they are certainly at all levels.
And yet the field is not an attractive one — if apprenticeship numbers at Guam Community College are anything to go by.
The hospitality and restaurant industry will take a long time to recover — particularly in Guam — as businesses have not been allowed anything like the opportunities to continue business as they have in the NMI — even with restrictions.
Construction is a career path where qualifications and specializations mean advancement.
Some of our young people have plans to own a house, start a family, have a guaranteed and continuous income after months of unemployment. The enticement is as simple as the salary to buy a car or travel.
We need our construction professionals to talk to their potential employees in schools. We need schools and colleges to seriously promote the industry. We need parents to consider the field for their children and talk to them. mbj