By Shirley A. Mabini
Fifteen years ago, the U.S. Congress launched the Workforce Investment Act to establish the nation’s public workforce system. That law has been replaced with reformed legislation: the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, or the “Opportunity Act.”
Business owners and executives should be excited to learn that they play a critical role under the Opportunity Act because it empowers Guam’s public leaders and a private sector–led workforce board. Together, they develop a strategic, integrated plan that supports economic growth and labor force needs intended to grow the capacity and performance of the workforce system for Guam.
The new Guam Workforce Development Board will be comprised primarily of business executives, and all members are appointed by the governor of Guam. With this caliber of leadership and guidance, better workforce development structure can be developed to effectively build local and regional economies.
Businesses can also expect improvements in how the Guam Department of Labor provides job and career development for workers and job seekers. Other than providing labor compliance services, the GDOL has historically partnered in job and economic development efforts. Through Guam’s American Job Center, formerly the One-Stop Career Center, businesses can utilize services at no fee to post their job openings and find qualified applicants. A team of professionals connects job seekers to hiring businesses. The American Job Center can be likened to a sort of Match.com for job seekers and businesses.
Hireguam.com is the new portal to help link potential employees and employers. This is a no-fee service offered online, and about 300 businesses have already utilized and directly benefited from posting jobs and finding candidates. This is especially helpful for small businesses that have limited internal human resources support.
On hireguam.com, businesses and job seekers can navigate the system virtually 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Also, the employment services staff at the American Job Center works regularly with companies to assist in their job postings and identify qualified candidates. Job seekers receive assistance, too, to ensure they are properly connected to open positions. In the last year, more than 6,000 individuals have been actively served through the center and hireguam.com.
Businesses can also work with the American Job Center team to explore or collaboratively develop job training and education opportunities to address real industry needs. Business service representatives are available to provide important labor market trends, find ideal candidates for employment or make connections to available training programs.
GDOL looks forward to having businesses partner in these efforts. Through board participation or use of American Job Center services, business individuals can help achieve the overarching goals of helping citizens obtain unsubsidized employment and retain jobs. The agency is measured by these outcomes, in addition to the reported average earnings of served customers. Working with businesses and providing follow-up services for its customers, GDOL can collect needed information in a timely manner.
Industry or business leaders are encouraged to contact GDOL to learn more about its services and be part of a new and robust workforce development system for Guam. n
— Shirley “Sam” A. Mabini is the deputy director for the Guam Department of Labor (American Job Center). She may be reached at [email protected].