The Trade Technical Department (TTD) at the American Samoa Community College (ASCC) has been awarded a grant from the American Apprenticeship Initiative (AAI) which in turn is under the federal Technical Assistance Program (TAP). The TTD offers both regular daytime courses in a variety of trade and technical areas, as well as its Apprentice/Workforce Development (AWD) program, designed to enable professional advancement for the community’s tradespersons through classes and trainings held after normal working hours. “For regular ASCC students, we provide entry-level training degree programs in trade areas,” said TTD Program Director Fred Suisala, “while we’ve created our AWD program for working professionals seeking to further their qualifications, or who wish to pursue a new career.”
Updated tools and equipment procured from the award will enable all TTD students to accomplish the hands-on component of the department’s courses, reinforcing the lecture component. AAI funds will further enable the recruitment of adjuncts, as well as facilitating licenses and certification, and the procurement of supplies and other institutional resources. One of the requirements of the AAI is the recruitment of unemployed high school graduates, and the courses offered by the TTD will provide potential career pathways for this disadvantaged group. During the two-year period covered by the AAI award, the AWD will offer three 10-week sessions per year in the spring, summer, and fall.
The American Apprenticeship Initiative falls under a series of grant programs launched by the U.S. Department of Labor, which has made available $100 million to engage employers nationwide in creating new apprenticeship opportunities across a wide range of occupations and industries. The Office of Insular Affairs (OIA) in Washington, D.C. facilitated the successful application by the TTD for the AAI grant. “The actual issuer of the grant to us is the OIA,” clarified Suisala, “and we owe them our sincere thanks on behalf of both the College and our community’s workforce.” The DOL grant programs promote apprenticeships as a significant workforce solution in occupations and industry sectors, with a focus on areas as diverse as technology, health care, advanced manufacturing, and even financial services.
For the upcoming fall semester, the TTD has scheduled 10 courses specifically for its AWD program. These include AutoCAD, taught by Valentine Talamoni; Basic Land Surveying, taught by a team consisting of Faleosina Voight, Taulapapa Will Sword and William Spitzenberg; Basic Microsoft Office, taught by Ernie Seiuli; Automotive, taught by Ionatana Pouesi; Basic Web Technology, taught by Noel Candelario; Basic Shielded Arc Welding, taught by Toma Solia; Construction, taught by Kenape Aumavae; Diesel, taught by Ionatana Pouesi; Electrical House Wiring, taught by Theodore “Ted” Leiato; and OSHA 30HR., taught by Mataitusi Marshall. These courses are of no cost to the participants except the registration fee.
“In the seven years ASCC has offered the AWD, we’ve provided instruction to hundreds of individuals in the public and private sector,” said Suisala. Since its inception, the AWD has awarded Certificates of Completion to 515 participants, with a successful completion rate of 79% and a job placement promotion rate of 26%.
Registration for the fall semester of the AWD program will take place later this month. For more information on the ASCC-TTD Apprenticeship/Workforce Development program, call ASCC at 699-9155 and ask for Fred Suisala at ext. 353.