Marianas Variety

Last updateSat, 21 Sep 2019 12am







    Friday, September 20, 2019-6:01:37P.M.






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Opportunity Expo a ‘resounding success’

OVER 300 community members attended last weekend’s Opportunity Expo at the multi-purpose center in Susupe. Precinct 2 Reps. Tina Sablan and John Paul P. Sablan hosted the event, which showcased hiring businesses as well as government and non-profit entities offering educational, training, and volunteer opportunities to the public.

“I was really happy with the turnout and the response from the community,” Rep. Tina Sablan told Variety. “We would have been happy if 50 people showed up or 100 people, or even if five people came away with a great experience and job prospects.”

She said the event’s ample attendance “surpassed our expectations and we’re really hopeful that people were able to make the connections that they were looking for, whether it was for jobs or educational opportunities or other types of resources to better their lives.”

“We decided to hold an Opportunity Expo for our precinct, Precinct 2,” said Rep. JP Sablan. He added that word traveled fast, and ultimately “it got so big that about a week prior to the event, we decided to just open it to the whole entire island.”

Over 20 private businesses introduced job openings at the expo including Bank of Guam, Bank of Hawaii, Century Hotel, DPA Car Mart, Pacific Islands Club, Triple J Enterprises, and Imperial Pacific International. Additionally, 16 government entities including the CNMI Department of Labor, CNMI Drug Court, CNMI Scholarship Office and the Public School System offered information about their various employment opportunities and services. Several non-profits also set up tables and in 500 Sails’ case, a sailing canoe, including American Red Cross, Center for Living Independently, MYPros, Northern Marianas Protection & Advocacy Systems, Inc., Office of Vocational Rehabilitation, Saipan Chamber of Commerce, and Saipan Young Professionals.

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From left, Rep Tina Sablan, Josephine Mesta and Emma Perez sit aboard Neni.  Contributed photo

“Although 500 Sails does not currently have employment opportunities, there are several resources we wanted to share that are available to the community at various times of the year, including free swim lessons, free sailing lessons on traditional canoes made of modern materials, and volunteer opportunities learning to build these canoes,” said 500 Sails co-founder Emma Perez. “Also, this event gave 500 Sails a chance to introduce members of the community to Neni, the first canoe of our growing training fleet of sakman.”

“There were even a couple of children who spent hours on Neni,” she added. “I showed them how to steer and then we sat back and listened to their imaginative stories of sailing in the ocean.”

Rep. Tina Sablan said it was “quite an ordeal” getting Neni through the door of the multi-purpose center and expressed gratitude to 500 Sails along with all participating organizations, including IT&E for providing free WiFi for the event and Joeten-Kiyu Public Library for bringing printers for job applicants who wanted to print their resumes and other relevant documents.

“Everybody that participated deserves huge thanks and a big pat on the back because it wouldn’t have been possible without all of the organizations that said, ‘Yes, we want jobs, we want to hire, we’re in,’” she said. “It was great having them all under the same roof.”

Rep. JP Sablan also extended his thanks to all participants, including the community members who attended: “I thank them for taking time out of their busy schedules and making an effort to explore what these many companies have to offer.”