Senate confirms DOL chief

THE Senate on Tuesday unanimously confirmed the appointment of Vicky I. Benavente as the secretary of the Department of Labor.

In an interview, Benavente said she is grateful to Gov. Ralph Torres and Lt. Gov. Victor Hocog for nominating her to the position, adding that she is very excited about the work.

Vicky I. Benavente

She has “big shoes to fill,” she said. “This is a very big challenge for me, but I am ready and grateful for the support that I am getting from the department staff and the business community. I know there are great obstacles and challenges, but we are ready to move forward.”

She said her department will further strengthen the local workforce while streamlining the process to make it easier for businesses to hire and maintain qualified employees.

Benavente said DOL is a “dynamic” department that will help ensure that the CNMI will further develop its own workforce.

Senate President Arnold I. Palacios said he is confident that Benavente will be a tremendous asset in the department and in addressing critical workforce issues.

Prior to her appointment as DOL secretary, Benavente served as the special assistant for project development with a special focus on the tourism and hospitality industry.

She is a former manager at the Pacific Islands Club and the Hyatt Regency Saipan and was the managing director of the Marianas Visitors Authority with extensive experience in destination marketing, project management, and human resources development.

For many years, she served as chairwoman of the Marianas Tourism Education Council. She is also a former instructor at the Latte Training Academy, and was a board member of Pacific Development Inc.

She attended the University of South Carolina, the College of Southern Idaho, and the University of Hawaii at Manoa School of Travel Industry Management.