David Dell’Isola, director of the Guam Department of Labor was clearly at home talking to businesspeople at the Guam Chamber of Commerce luncheon on June 30 at the Hilton Guam Resort & Spa.

He understands the challenges of no tourism, that tourism won’t come back quickly — and that financial support is essential and a lifeline to all businesses, “from small businesses up to hotels,” as he said.

Dell’Isola said applicants can apply jointly for the DOL Bisnes Para I Taota and an upcoming Guam Economy Development Authority loan to small businesses, so that if businesses are applying for both loans, they won’t have to duplicate the application.

How reasonable. How helpful.

There is a lot that Dell’Isola does not know about the program, but he shared that too. What is certain is that it will pay businesses to hire new employees, and pay those businesses $9.25 per hour, which will be the minimum wage, no matter what the employee is earning. And he wants to include additional funding for FICA and taxes too.

Given that this is a director who was able to manage the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance for Guam – which as of June 22, stood at disbursements of $725 million in assistance, plus $60 million in taxes – there’s every chance he will manage this smoothly.

Dell’Isola is also standing up the job search requirement for PUA applicants, which may underscore the need for our residents to return to work before their PUA payments stop in September.

The funding is planned for October in the new fiscal year, Dell’Isola said, but awards will ideally be made in September.

This will be a locally funded program and for those businesses that fall outside of its guidelines, Dell’Isola said, “We will help you.”

Still, seeing is believing, they say.

For those businesses who have seen frustrations at not receiving grants due to lack of local funding, or a rigid program that excluded many of the businesses it was designed to help, that is certainly true.

And since we have yet to see the first tourist step foot in Guam (outside of the Guam Visitors Bureau’s vaccination and vacation program), the same can be said. mbj