24 Rota businesses, government agencies recognized by PSS Co-Op for training over 60 students (2024)

24 Rota businesses, government agencies recognized by PSS Co-Op for training over 60 students (1)

(PSS) — The Public School System’s Cooperative Education Program wrapped up its district-wide end-of-year partner appreciation event on Rota on Monday, May 20, 2024.

For this year, the municipality has, once again, the highest number of private businesses and government agencies that partnered with Co-Op.

The 24 private businesses and government agencies were honored by Commissioner of Education Dr. Lawrence F. Camacho, Co-Op Program Coordinator Brandon Nicholas, and Dr. Rita H. Inos Junior-Senior High School Principal Annette Calvo in an appreciation ceremony at Puesto Grill II in Songsong.

The Co-Op Program at Dr. Rita Hocog Inos Junior-Senior High School is also celebrating its fourth year of implementation on Rota. This year, over 60 high school students have participated in the internship program.

“We are here because we are celebrating the incredible partnership that we have with the local government offices and private businesses who have stepped up for the last four years in helping our high school students prepare for their after-high school choices,” Commissioner of Education Dr. Lawrence F. Camacho said.

He also recognized the leadership of RHI for the continued success of the program.

“I want to thank Principal Annette Calvo for her great leadership in keeping this program alive on Rota,” he added.

Camacho, Calvo and Nicholas presented the following Co-Op Program’s partners on Rota with certificates:

3Kings Market and Harvest, Ace Hardware Rota, Anne’s Convenient Store, Bayview Hotel, Budget Rent-A-Car, DCCA-Historical Preservation Office-Rota, Department of Fire and Emergency Medical Services-Rota, Division of Fish and Wildlife-Rota, Dr. Rita Hocog Inos Junior-Senior High School, Hago Lamon, Lagua Enterprises, Lucy’s Day Care, Luta Green Gold, Marianas Visitors Authority-Rota, MGS Enterprises, OB Salon, Pizzaria Bar & Grill, RNA Crafts Designs, Rota Health Center, Rota Mayor’s Office, Sasanhaya Service Station, Sinapalo Elementary School, Sinapalo Safeway, and TEA’s Enterprises.

‘Thank you, mentors’

The student interns, for their part, shared their experiences with the program.

“We learned how it is important to communicate with and help customers,” said an intern with Budget Rent-A-Car. “Thank you for mentoring us.”

“What I learned is that the [government] consists of different offices and parts. I now know how big the government is here and how it operates… and my internship was part of a bigger picture in the operation and services that the government provides,” said another student, a DCCA-Historic Preservation Office intern.

For a DFEMS-Rota intern, “It's not just about fighting fire but saving lives. We were able to apply teamwork, and become a better version of ourselves.”

An RHI library aide intern said “the Co-Op Program helped me assume duties in an environment I didn’t know I could learn. It helped me with my future.”

“I like little kids and my internship with Lucy’s Day Care helps me learn things about the proper care of a child,” said another student intern.

For an intern of MVA-Rota, “It’s about the tourism industry.”

Interns at MGS, a private business, said they learned a lot about food production: from sourcing ingredients to quality control. “Everything matters,” one of them said. “It’s a dynamic industry where innovation and adoption are key to staying competitive.”

Another intern said, “Our mentors taught us that no matter how much it takes, quality matters more than quantity. Like our mentors say: if you won’t eat it, don’t sell it.”

An intern for Pizzaria Bar & Grill learned “multitasking, critical thinking, problem-solving and being respectful to every customer no matter the situation.”

‘Beyond high school’

Commissioner of Education Camacho said the interns “are already thinking beyond high school.” The Co-Op Program aims to help them with their after-high school choices, he added.

“The program will guide you on your next step,” he told the interns. “It will guide you in your decision-making process after graduation.”

Camacho added, “Please know that your Public School System will continue to support you, the children of Rota, and the CNMI, as a whole. For us, your education leaders and advocates, we have the reason, the mindset and the support system to succeed in serving and giving you, our students, every opportunity to learn and succeed.”

Camacho noted that the current batch of interns are “Gen Z” students.

“You have a greater advantage in succeeding because you were born in this digital era. But how do you achieve success? By virtue of learning and using every technology made available to you. As you walk that path, you are gaining wisdom and knowledge,” he said.

‘Future workforce’

Brandon Nicholas, the Co-Op Program coordinator, said despite the challenges faced by the Rota economy, local businesses and government offices “accepted and trained students because they believe they are the future workforce.”

“Companies and agencies here today, we wish to extend our deepest sense of gratitude to you all for allowing our students to learn from each one of you. I’d be preaching to the choir if I didn’t share that life here on Rota is a lot different from most places, and even full-time work is hard to come by. You open your doors so that our students can understand the importance of hard work and show how much you love, care and respect your island,” Nicholas said in his remarks.

“We thank you for staying open so that people from the village can buy much needed groceries, provide life-saving care as highly trained first responders, a safe place to stay for people that are visiting or may be returning home for a short visit and the many other businesses that provide goods and services to the entire island,” he added.

“Despite the many difficulties you all face while trying to operate your business, you still found time to train the future of our workforce and give the youth of Rota an opportunity to understand what real work looks and feels like, as they will soon do this in their adult lives. Today is all about you, and we hope you continue to partner with us,” Nicholas said.

24 Rota businesses, government agencies recognized by PSS Co-Op for training over 60 students (2024)
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