GCC acquires former Trades Academy, plans campus upgrades
The Guam Trades Academy moved from Guam Community College to its new home in Tiyan. Once GCA vacated, GCC planned on using the current building in Barrigada as a temporary home for classes that must be held off the main GCC campus while their permanent sites are being built or renovated.
The GCC Foundation finalized its $1.2 million purchase of the 8,000-square-foot facility in Barrigada on Nov. 15, 2019.
The Guam Trades Academy was slated to begin operations in its new facility in Tiyan in late 2020, with construction beginning on Oct. 28, 2019.
Buildup and beyond: Agency works to address labor shortage
While the economic promise of the military buildup has guided the direction of Guam’s labor market in recent years, the Guam Department of Labor began to search for a solution for once the buildup is complete.
One solution being pursued was to train people for jobs that will find use during the buildup but will also likely transfer into the post-buildup job market such as logistics, warehousing, IT and telecom.
Pacific islands remain on high alert as coronavirus rapidly spreads
As of Jan. 31, no cases of the coronavirus had been reported in the Pacific island nations, but disruptions from the fast-moving outbreak could be felt throughout.
Ports of entry in the Northern Mariana Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, Palau and Guam remained on high alert for infected passengers, with some suspending flights.
Coming along: Business center to open soon
The Guam Women’s Chamber of Commerce launched an exclusive Women’s Business Center on Guam in Ada’s Plaza in Hagåtña.
The building was intended to be utilized as a multi-purpose training room, with a private office for the executive director of the GWCC and a space to meet one-on-one or function as a second office on the premises.
Strong service: Essential operations continuing on daily
In the wake of the first Coronavirus cases coming to island, businesses in the front line of the service industry in Guam were focused on meeting the needs of customers.
Matson Navigation Co., South Pacific Petroleum Corp., BankPacific Ltd. and Bank of Guam were among those essential businesses affected by the first lockdown.
What, nothing? Benefits capped at $345 per week
According to the Guam Department of Labor, about 90% of the workforce — more than 54,000 out of roughly 60,000 — was ineligible for financial assistance under the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program. Those who remained employed and made a sum of, or more than $345 per week, even if their hours or pay were less became disqualified. The $345 per week cap was determined by the U.S. Department of Labor and is part of the agreement between the U.S. DOL and the Government of Guam which implemented the program for the island.
Northern lights: Major projects on Tinian move ahead
The Tinian Diamond Casino, a more than $16 million project, was originally slated for completion by the end of May, but was pushed back months, largely due to a slowdown in the delivery of supplies. Phase 2 of the project — which will be a Wyndham Hotel and Resort — was still in the design stages.
Outside the box: Hotels are operating with new ideas
Hotels on island began to re-open, and most had to change business plans.
The Dusit Thani Guam Resort re-opened the Aqua restaurant on May 31, with staff serving guests cafeteria style. Lotte Hotel Guam’s the Lounge and Deli opened June 1, offering platters, bento boxes, a la carte items, celebration cakes, breads and pastries for take-out. The Westin Resort Guam’s Prego restaurant opened May 25 with an a la carte menu and other offerings. Mix Cha Cha Cha Café were open as well. The Hilton Guam Resort & Spa opened Café Cino in its lobby on June 2.
At your bidding: Military projects continue in play
A number of military projects have been recently delayed — including the Guam BOS contract award; the Tinian Divert Airfield slowed for being overbudget on the original design; a cargo pad with taxiway extension and maintenance storage facility, hindered by bid deadlines being extended and minimal bidders; an airfield development and apron and fuel pipeline and tank installation waiting for proposals; and the Mamizu MAC.
Group to grow number of outlets
Two new King’s Restaurant locations will be opening in Dededo and Mangilao, doubling the number of locations. The new restaurants will be smaller than the current two.
Getting results: Serology test works
COVID-19 blood tests, developed by Diagnostic Laboratory Services Inc. in Hawaii, now has the ability to look for antibodies. According to the Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine the DLS antibody test has “a specificity greater than 99.8% and a sensitivity of 100%.”
Going, going, gone: Business closures
Acanta Mall’s The Baker’s World closed after eight years of business operations in mid-April. Korned Foodtruck had to furlough some of its staff. MerYenda, which sold food from the Philippines, closed Sept. 1. Travel Pacificana announced its last day of business operations was set for Sept. 15. The Journal published a list of closures in Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands.
On the money: Bank to open new HQ by end of year
John Z. Arroyo, president and CEO of Bank of Saipan, announced staff would be moving to a new headquarters and branch building by December. The new location is on Beach Road.
A roll of the dice: Labor force issues continue to affect Guam
Guam will continue to need significant numbers of H-2B workers, for the foreseeable future; expert estimates place military work sufficient to keep the island’s contractors happy for a decade, without even considering civil projects. Requests for Proposals and awards continue to roll out for the military alignment in Guam — and the Northern Mariana Islands.
As of Oct. 5, 10 H-2s are on island from Mexico.
Home for the holidays: Second CG cutter set for Guam; third in training
Guam welcomed a second of three Coast Guard Fast Response cutters to the island, the USCGC Oliver Henry.
The first fast response cutter — the USCG Myrtle Hazard — arrived on island Sept. 24. The third cutter — the USCGC Frederick Hatch — is in Guam, with the crew undergoing training and enjoying the experience of being on-island; the Frederick Hatch will leave in February for Key West, then sail to New Orleans and will return to Guam for its commissioning.
Costs will delay Tinian divert airfield awards
Construction awards for the Tinian Divert Airfield project were scheduled to be awarded in fiscal 2021, but the whole program has shifted and are now not expected to be seen until the second quarter of fiscal 2022.
The commander of Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command Marianas also spoke exclusively with the Journal on the billions in MilCon that will flow to the region. mbj