Careers Employment

Employment programs can help those who lost jobs during pandemic

The Pandemic Unemployment Assistance is winding down, and Guam Department of Labor Director David Dell’Isola says the agency has been seeing an anecdotal decrease in claimants as individuals slowly, but surely, return to work. 

Guam Department of Labor signage on 4th floor of the GCIC Building in Hagåtña, Feb. 8, 2021.

“As the island opens up, more people are increasing their reduced hours and other people are also being called back to their work. Businesses are starting to open up, so we’ll start seeing hopefully a trend of a decline,” Dell’Isola said. 

On April 13, Del. Mike San Nicolas warned that federal aid for unemployment was likely to sunset this coming September, as economic conditions improve stateside. That means saying goodbye to a nice chunk of free federal money for thousands of residents. That, in turn, means all those receiving unemployment will need to find work, hopefully well before September. 

Commitment to Clean Kits, containing a face mask and sanitizing wipes, are made available to employment seekers during a job fair at the Westin Resort Guam in Tumon on Tuesday, March 9, 2021.

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Guam’s local industries, businesses and various educational programs have launched training programs and job fairs to help expand employment opportunities not just for people to find jobs – but also to help our workforce train and transition into different jobs if they choose. The COVID-19 pandemic may have taken a lot from us, but it’s also presenting workers with a unique opportunity to take on new careers and seek a better quality of life for their families.

Potential employment applicants are greeted upon their arrival to a job fair, hosted by the Westin Resort Guam in Tumon, on Tuesday, March 9, 2021.

The U.S. Department of Labor gave Guam $1.7 million to support employment amid the pandemic. The local labor agency is working with Guam Community College, the University of Guam, and the GCA Trades Academy to provide training opportunities. 

The best thing about these programs is that many translate to a job at completion, or a certificate that makes it easier to find work.  

Dell’Isola said those on unemployment should take advantage of these programs and other opportunities. 

Guam Department of Labor Director David Dell'Isola visited Guam students at the Hawaii Job Corps on Oahu From left: Isaiah Wong, automotive; Andrew Howell, security; David Borja, security; Kobe Blas, landscaping; James Borja, landscaping; Anthony Meno, office administration; Dell'Isola; Kaila Chargalauf, health occupations; Albrite Cruz health occupations; Lainey Merep, health occupations; and Joseph Ytelug, building technologies.

“We’re coming up near the end of the tunnel, so we’re starting to see the light. So, you got to wake up, get up and start the training,” he said. 

Dell’Isola also said employers need to continue to use the Hire Guam website to post job listings.

“You’re gonna have all these tens of thousands of people going into Hire Guam. So it just makes sense for those employers to post their job.”