ASCC-BAOA Hosts Talk By ASG Economist

By James Kneubuhl, ASCC Press Officer

Published on October 23, 2017

In an effort to better inform students at the American Samoa Community College (ASCC) of the economic situation in the Territory, especially with regards to employment prospects, the student organization Business Ambassadors of ASCC (BAOA) hosted a Business Forum last week at the College, with Special Assistant to the Governor HTC Iulogologo Joseph Pereira as the special guest speaker. The event went by the theme “Certainty & Uncertainty – Jobs and Economic Prospects for American Samoa.”

“In order for students to decide what to study, it helps if they have some awareness of what kind of jobs might be available in the future,” said BAOA President Samtara Atisanoe. “With BAOA, we not only help students with their Business studies, but also try to expose them to possible career directions by providing access to hands-on work experience and activities that help them see the big picture here in American Samoa in terms of the economy. As a professional economist who is extensively involved with government planning, HTC Iulogologo had many valuable insights to share with us.”

Speaking before an audience that included ASCC President Dr. Rosevonne Makaiwi Pato, Vice President Dr. Lena Galea’i-Scanlan, BAOA members and other Business students and friends, Iulogologo’s talk covered a wide range of subject matter, and he did not mince words when describing the economic challenges faced by the Territory, referencing the problems now faced by the fishing industry as well as the limited prospects of developing a visitor industry because of the prohibitive cost of air travel to American Samoa.

“Everything he spoke about was important,” reflected Atisanoe. “He touched on subjects like the rise in our unemployment rate to 14.3% and also the possibility of the canneries having to close down in the next 10 years and the impact this would have on business associated with the fishing industry. But he also expressed his view that there are always jobs to be found in American Samoa for those who have the right skills, and especially encouraged us to think about careers in accounting, technology, and other professions that will always be in demand no matter what direction the economy goes in.” Iulogologo kept his main address relatively brief, then opened the floor to questions from the audience, which he answered in detail until the forum had nearly reached its time limit. Atisanoe explained that subsequent to the forum, a survey among Business students and others who attended revealed that an overwhelming majority of them felt they had gained a valuable perspective from Iulogologo sharing his experiences and insights.

BAOA hopes to hold a similar Business Forum every semester, but their next community project, said Atisanoe, will be a parent/student Fiafia Night in early November to inform parents about the content and curriculum of Business courses and the many activities associated with the Business program. In addition to President Atisanoe, the BAOA officers are Vice President Miracle Matamu, Secretary Sherwood Auva’a and Treasurer Faleu Peseta.