AWD Program
Non-traditional students comprise most of the class members in the Apprenticeship Workforce Development program offered by the Trades & Technology Division of ASCC. The program will begin its next eight-week session on May 5th. (Photo: J. Kneubuhl)

ASCC-AWD Expands Course Offerings

April 23, 2014

By James Kneubuhl, ASCC Press Officer

Beginning on May 5th, the Trades and Technology Division (TTD) at the American Samoa Community College (ASCC) will begin its third eight-week semester in the Apprenticeship Workforce Development (AWD) program since its re-launching last year. The AWD provides training for both currently employed workers and job seekers to achieve enhanced and updated skills through structured, on-the-job learning experiences combined with related classroom instruction. Classes take place in the early evening to accommodate the work schedules of those enrolled.

The TTD will offer ten AWD courses for the forthcoming semester in standard areas of the Apprenticeship professions such as Architectural Drafting, Electrical, Automotive, and Welding, Air Conditioning and Computer Technology, including three classes being taught for the first time within the program. Troubleshooting Basic Electronics & Appliances (ELP 810) is for those interested in repairing basic electronics devices and gadgets such as TV’s, audio devices, computers and regular household appliances. The prerequisite for this course, taught by Taetuli Laulu, is the ETP 800 and/or with proven experience in the electronics/electrical field.

Computer Networking (ICT 840) is intended for those presently working in the IT field or its equivalent who would like to update their skills with the training needed to earn industry-relevant certifications. Experience in the computer field is a requirement to enroll, and the instructor will be a new adjunct member of the TTD faculty, Mr. Jericho Martinez. The third new course is Introduction to Collision (ABR 810), which is of special interest for those in the auto body repair field. This is the first course in a series of courses within this program for anyone aiming to become an Auto Body Technician certified by the National Institute of Automotive Service Excellence (ASE).

AWD Coordinator Fred Suisala said the local workforce has shown strong support for the program since its return last year, indicating a strong interest among local trades professionals in upgrading their skills and certifications. “The program has been very successful since re-launching,” said Suisala. “There were 78 enrollments with 61 Certificates of Completion conferred this last semester, an increase from 54 participants and 41 Certificates presented during the previous session. The completion rate also improved from 76% from the previous semester to 78% this last semester.”

Suisala explained how a better-skilled workforce will ultimately contribute to a healthier economy for American Samoa. “The high prices we pay for consumer items have a lot to do with import costs,” he said, “and it’s the same for highly skilled labor. When the workers with the know-how to perform our needed services have to be sponsored into the Territory from overseas, this necessarily adds to what they need to charge the customer. Therefore, we as a community need to build our own highly qualified local workforce to help contain service costs and rebuild our economy.”

Suisala observed that the AWD classes thus far have attracted a combination of non-traditional students interested in a new career as well as incumbent professionals wishing to attain the certification necessary to gain a competitive edge. Registration for the coming AWD semester will take place from April 29th to May 2nd, with classes getting underway on May 5th. For more information on the AWD program, contact the TTD at 699-9155, ext. 353 or 472.