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NMTI wants to be accredited, financially independent

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THE Northern Marianas Trade Institute board of trustees met briefly with Gov. Ralph DLG Torres and Lt. Gov. Arnold I. Palacios on Wednesday morning to discuss the next steps that the trade school will take amid the global pandemic and economic downturn.

The board has been working on achieving accreditation so that NMTI will no longer “piggyback” on Northern Marianas College, the trustees said.

Palacios said is important to not lose sight of the goal of NMTI.

“The last thing that we want to do is to be so bogged down on accreditation that we forget the real core of what NMTI is all about,” he said.

“We need to really take a look at this pandemic. It is starting to create a lot of different opportunities and challenges for the private sector, so we need to take a look at that. We can piggyback on NMC. It is great that NMC is accredited, and that you have an agreement with them,” he told the trustees.

Both the governor and lt. governor said they have met with several individuals who are products of the institution and are pleased with their current jobs.

But “of course we need resources,” Palacios said. “Accessing federal programs is something we should take seriously as a great opportunity, but at the end of the day, you have to make sure that we do this in a balance, so that we are not just concentrating on [accreditation]. We need to look at the teachers and the needs of the students.”

Trustee Richard P. Kautz Jr. said NMTI wants to be accredited and financially independent.

He said this is why the board is “trying to keep the accreditation afloat, so we do not have to start from scratch all over again.”

Governor Torres, for his part, said, “The goals of NMTI should really be re-evaluated because the whole purpose is to provide additional workforce…. We just laid off 400 government employees. The private sector just laid off, I think, close to 6,000. We are projecting that in the next month, this is going to hit up to 9,000.”

He mentioned that during the Fiscal Response Summit, there was a proposal to merge NMC and NMTI, noting the duplicate programs that the two institutions have.

“Our tourism industry is not going to grow in the next year,” Torres said. “There are going to be a lot of changes in the government based on the resources that we have. There will be a lot of drastic changes that need to be made, and that is why we are here, to acknowledge those needs.”

After the governor and the lt. governor left, the NMTI trustees met in an executive or closed-door session to continue the discussion.

 

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