Guam Surpasses 5,000 H-2B Workers

October 31, 2023

Guam Surpasses 5,000 H-2B Workers

The number of H-2B workers on Guam has now surpassed the 5,000-worker mark last seen in the early 1990s. This number may increase to 6,000 to 7,000 H-2B workers in the next fiscal year. The influx of H-2B workers not only represents a crucial boost to Guam’s construction capacity but also underscores the island’s continuing economic development.

Joel Manalo Lugue, originally from Pampanga, Philippines, is the 5,000th H-2B worker to be registered on Guam during the military buildup and is now employed by 5M Construction Corporation.

“Exceeding 5,000 H-2B workers marks a significant turning point in this Administration’s efforts as we forge a path toward a more accessible, efficient, and beneficial H-2B program. Through the Governor’s firm leadership, and in partnership with the Philippine government, in the last year, we made substantial improvements to the H-2B program which has contributed to a more streamlined process. We continue to work with the Philippines’ Department of Migrant Workers to establish an office in Guam and a Labor Attaché,” said Guam Department of Labor (GDOL) Director David Dell’Isola. “As military construction booms and H-2B labor expands, this unprecedented growth will allow Guam to fill critical employment gaps in other high-demand markets and foster economic prosperity for the island.”

Registration fees for H-2B workers fund several activities such as GDOL training programs and services, workforce housing inspections, and registered apprenticeships with training through the Guam Community College, and sustain program activities without reliance on the GovGuam General Fund.

Outside the Fence Projects

H-2B workers are available to work on construction projects in the civilian sector, including projects relative to commercial buildings, home construction, and government facilities. The Leon Guerrero-Tenorio Administration worked with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to reverse the 2016 H-2B crisis that resulted in the unprecedented denials of all H-2B visa applications and to update policy guidance to facilitate the availability of supplemental manpower for smaller contractors in the civilian sector.

For more information, contact the Alien Labor Processing and Certification Division at 671-475-8013 or alpcd@nulldol.guam.gov.

Unemployment Rate Remains Steady at 4%

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October 20, 2023

Unemployment Rate Remains Steady at 4%

Guam’s unemployment rate remained at a steady 4.0% in June 2023, unchanged from the December 2022 figure of 4.0%. This unemployment rate also saw a reduction of 0.8% from the June 2022 figure of 4.8%.

The June 2023 Current Employment Report shows the number of jobs dipped by 1,450 compared to the previous quarter but was still up by 2,420 year-over-year. Private sector employment decreased by 830 in the latest quarter but remained up by 1,990 over the year.

“The unemployment numbers show the resiliency in our economy despite the global pandemic and the devastation from Typhoon Mawar. As we continue the work to restore tourism to pre-pandemic levels, we will continue our efforts to expand and prepare our workforce to meet the needs of our island,” said Acting Governor Joshua Tenorio.

The June 2023 Current Employment Report notes that the decline in jobs can be attributed to several factors, including summer employment in educational institutions which support them, but this number is expected to rebound in September. This survey was also conducted three weeks after Typhoon Mawar, when employment was temporarily depressed in tourism-related and other industries.

“These increases over the year occurred despite a dip, which appears to be temporary, of 830 jobs in June following Typhoon Mawar. This increased employment through June 2023 is primarily associated with increased construction activities at the Marine Corps Camp Blaz base in addition to civilian commercial and residential construction as well as government roads and utilities. Increased Hotel and Retail Trade activity is largely driven by continuing substantial tourist arrival recovery from the pandemic lows as well as increased consumer incomes from this activity,” said Guam Department of Labor (GDOL) Chief Economist Gary Hiles. “In comparison to December 2019 pre-pandemic to June 2023, private sector average hourly earnings have increased from $14.55 to $18.26, average weekly hours paid have nearly recovered from 36.7 to 36.3 and average weekly earnings increased from $534.36 to $663.70.”

The Unemployment Situation Report and the Current Employment Report are available online at bls.guam.gov. For more information, contact the Bureau of Labor Statistics at 671-475-7054.

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GDOL PRESS RELEASE IN-SCHOOL YOUTH WINTER SESSION

October 5, 2023

In-School Youth Winter Session Applications Now Being Accepted

The Guam Department of Labor (GDOL) is now accepting applications for the SY2023-24 Year-Round In-School Youth Program, which provides high school students with work readiness, occupational skills training, and summer employment within each school year. Each high school will have up to 15 slots to fill for the upcoming Winter Session.  

The In-School Youth Program Winter Session will include work readiness workshops that will prepare students for real-world employment skills such as resume writing, interview preparation, work ethics, communication skills, respecting peers and more. Eligible students must be enrolled in the 11th or 12th grade, between the ages of 14 to 21, and meet other criteria.

“We had a very successful Summer Session earlier this year with several of our private sector partners who were so impressed with our students that they hired them as permanent members of their team. The Winter and Spring Sessions prepare these students with the skills needed for the summer internship when they are partnered with an employer. This ensures the success of every intern as well as the employer,” said David Dell’Isola, GDOL Director.

The In-School Youth Winter Session is a paid occupational skills workshop and will be held from December 18 to 29, 2023. The deadline to apply is November 15, 2023.

Students must meet certain eligibility requirements. Interested students should speak to their school counselors to learn more about the program. The application can be found online at the following link: http://bit.ly/inschoolyouth

For more information, contact the American Job Center at 671-475-7000/1, or visit the AJC at the GCIC Building, 414 W Soledad Ave, 3rd Floor, in Hagåtña.

General Information on DUA Eligibility: Who is Qualified

July 28, 2023

Guam residents who lost work as a result of damages from Typhoon Mawar may be eligible for Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA), which is a program administered by the U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL) and funded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Here are general guidelines on DUA eligibility.

DUA payments are designed to provide temporary partial income replacement so that an individual unemployed as a result of a declared disaster may recoup their lost wages. DUA is not designed to provide 100% income replacement or to enhance business losses to self-employed individuals who suffer such losses due to a disaster.

In order to qualify for DUA, individuals must be unemployed or partially unemployed at their ongoing employment or self-employment as a direct result of the major disaster or must be prevented from commencing employment or self-employment.

UNEMPLOYED WORKER

An unemployed worker is one who worked in or was scheduled to begin work in the major disaster area at the time of the major disaster and whose principal source of income and livelihood is dependent upon the worker’s employment for wages. Such worker’s full or partial unemployment will be considered to be caused by the major disaster if, as a direct result of the disaster, the worker:

1)      Has a week of unemployment following the date the major disaster began; or
2)      Is unable to reach the place of employment; or
3)      Was to have started work and does not have the job or is unable to reach the job; or
4)      Cannot work because of an injury caused as a direct result of the major disaster.

UNEMPLOYED SELF-EMPLOYED INDIVIDUAL

An unemployed self-employed individual is an individual who was employed in or was to commence employment in the major disaster area at the time the major disaster began, and whose principal source of income and livelihood is dependent upon the individual’s performance of service in self-employment. The unemployment of an unemployed self-employed individual is caused by a major disaster if:

1)      The individual has a week of unemployment following the date the major disaster began, and such unemployment is a direct result of the major disaster; or

2)      The individual is unable to reach the place where services as a self-employed individual are performed, as a direct result of the major disaster; or

3)      The individual was to commence regular services as a self-employed individual, but does not have a place or is unable to reach the place where the services as a self-employed individual were to be performed; or

4)      The individual cannot perform services as a self-employed individual because of an injury caused as a direct result of the major disaster.

UNEMPLOYMENT VERIFICATION FORM

A sample Employer’s Verification of Unemployment form is now available online at dol.guam.gov/DUA. Individuals who were unemployed as a direct result of Typhoon Mawar can use this form along with other documentation to show proof of unemployment once DUA is officially announced and launched. Verification of unemployment must be completed by the unemployed individual’s employer. 

More information on DUA eligibility, forms, documentation, requirements, application, where to apply, and other general information, will be issued in the coming weeks as the DUA system is being prepared for launch.

Individuals who are registered on hireguam.com should take steps to ensure their accounts are active. If you are unable to log on or reset your password, email webadmin@nulldol.guam.gov for assistance. If you think you will be applying for DUA benefits as a direct result of Typhoon Mawar and do not have an account, register today at hireguam.com. For more information, contact the Guam Department of Labor at 671-475-7000/1 or visit dol.guam.gov.

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GDOL Working with Federal Officials on Disaster Unemployment Assistance Program

June 5, 2023

The Guam Department of Labor (GDOL) is currently working with FEMA and the U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL) to stand up a Disaster Unemployment Assistance program and will make announcements as soon as more information becomes available, including eligibility, application processes, accessibility, contact information, timeline, coverage, and other information. At this time, we encourage individuals to document any losses in employment or wages due to the effects of Typhoon Mawar.

For more information, contact GDOL at 671-475-7000/1 or visit dol.guam.gov.

PRESS RELEASE: Another Students Joins Hawaii Job Corps

For Immediate Release – March 7, 2023

Hagåtña, Guam – A student from Guam is off to Hawaii to follow his dreams in the hospitality industry
while studying in the Job Corps Program.

David Santos left today to the Hawaii Job Corps, Maui Campus and will be studying culinary and
hospitality. A 2019 graduate of Southern High School, Santos waited two years to enroll in Job Corps but
was unsuccessful because of the COVID-19 pandemic. He had learned about Job Corps through a friend
who also enrolled in the program. Once another opportunity became available, Santos immediately
contacted the American Job Center to apply for the Job Corps Program.

“The pandemic forced the program to shift for the safety and health of the students but since classes have
opened back up, we’ve seen enrollment numbers climb. I’m really glad that David was patient and did not
give up on the program. He is now taking the first step to a successful future,” said Guam Department of
Labor (GDOL) Director David Dell’Isola. “I highly encourage students and young people to take
advantage of this opportunity to learn skills in a structured environment that will guarantee them a
successful career.”

Job Corps
Job Corps is a tuition-free career training program that prepares eligible young people ages 18 through 24
for meaningful careers in various industries while attending classes off island with all expenses covered.
Room and board, basic medical care, transportation, meals, and stipends are all provided at no cost to the
student. The program also helps students complete their high school education and provides transitional
support services. Students are sent home during winter break for two weeks to be with their families with
airfare covered.

The Hawaii Job Corps centers also recently launched the Pharmacy Technician Registered Apprenticeship
Program in partnership with CVS Health and is actively recruiting for this program. Selected participants
undergo four weeks of classroom instruction for phase 1 and then move on to phase 2, during which time
they are paid a full-time salary while training and earning certifications for 8 to 12 months to become a
pharmacy technician. Tuition, training, room and board, meals, transportation, and basic health care are
covered.

Recruitment is also ongoing for participants in the Tongue Point Job Corps in Astoria, Oregon for the
Seamanship Training Program. The duration of the program varies from 18 to 24 months, depending on
the applicant’s progress and choice of certifications. Upon completion at the Oregon campus, cadets will
be qualified to work in the maritime industry in positions that have high rates of pay in flexible work
locations. Salaries in these positions can range from $40,000 to $100,000 annually.

For more information about the Job Corps Programs, or how to enroll, visit the American Job Center on
the 3rd floor of GCIC Building, 414 W Soledad Ave in Hagåtña, call 671-475-7000/1, send an email
to ajc.training@nulldol.guam.gov, or visit https://dol.guam.gov/employment-and-training/job-corps/.

David Santos Job Corps: From left to right: GDOL Deputy Director Jerry Toves, Employment Development Worker Linda Salas, newly enrolled Hawaii Job Corps student David Santos, Employment Program Administrator Theresa Camacho.

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PRESS RELEASE: Unemployed Senior Citizens Encouraged to Apply for Paid Work-Based Training

For Immediate Release – February 6, 2023

Hagåtña, Guam – The Guam Department of Labor (GDOL) is actively recruiting unemployed senior citizens interested in looking for part-time work to participate in the Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP).

SCSEP is a community service and work-based training program for unemployed senior citizens who meet certain eligibility criteria, need employment training, and have significant barriers to employment.

“We want to help our manåmko’ who are in need of work or training to live independent, sustainable lives. SCSEP has helped hundreds of senior citizens who have struggled to pay bills or afford housing. In addition to monetary benefits, working in retirement age has health benefits that keep our elderly population mentally sharp and physically active. SCSEP can assist our manåmko’ who may have been out of work for a while and would like to ease back into the workforce or learn a new skill,” said GDOL Director David Dell’Isola.

Qualified participants are placed into work-based training programs within the Government of Guam or a non-profit organization with 501(c)(3) designation. The senior citizens enrolled in the program will receive minimum wage salaries and work an average of 20 hours per week. Wages earned by SCSEP participants are exempted from income eligibility determination for federal housing programs and/or food stamps.

To qualify, participants must be at least 55 years of age, a resident of Guam, unemployed, meet income requirements, and have barriers to employment.

Interested applicants can visit the American Job Center on the 3rd floor of the GCIC Building in Hagåtña, 414 West Soledad Avenue, Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., call 671-475-7000/1, or email scsep@nulldol.guam.gov. For more information, visit dol.guam.gov.

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Guam Ranked 3rd in Nation for Employment of Veterans

For Immediate Release – December 29, 2022

Hagåtña, Guam – Guam is among the top three performers in the nation in getting veterans employed within the first quarter after completing the Jobs for Veterans State Grants (JVSG) program. Guam’s Uniform National Threshold Entered Employment Rate (UNTEER) is 61.50%, which also makes the island the only U.S. Territory to meet or exceed the passing rate of 46.9%.

The UNTEER is determined by Veterans’ Entered Employment Rate (VEER), which is the percentage of JVSG program enrollees who were employed in the first quarter after leaving the program.

“Our team at the American Job Center is always finding creative ways to get jobs to our people, especially those who face significant barriers to employment. Veterans regularly face difficulties with employment and adjusting to civilian life,” said Guam Department of Labor Director David Dell’Isola. “Helping veterans with gainful employment is a top priority for us and the results of the UNTEER demonstrate the dedication of the AJC team to meeting veterans’ needs.”

The JVSG provides federal funding to State Workforce Agencies throughout the U.S. to provide individualized career and training-related services to veterans and eligible persons with significant barriers to employment and to assist employers fill their workforce needs with job-seeking veterans.

“The Guam Department of Labor will continue its efforts to provide employment and training opportunities through many other services and programs such as Apprenticeship, Job Corps, Senior Community Service Employment Program, Dislocated Worker Program, and youth programs we are developing in partnership with educational institutions,” said Dell’Isola.

To learn more about employment programs for veterans, visit dol.guam.gov. For inquiries, contact the American Job Center at 671-475-7000/1.


Guam Continues to Rank High in Apprenticeship Programs

For Immediate Release – November 4, 2022

Hagåtña, Guam – Governor Lou Leon Guerrero and Lt. Governor Josh Tenorio today signed a proclamation to recognize National Apprenticeship Week, noting that Guam remains among the top producers of registered apprentices in the nation per capita.

“Our apprenticeship programs work. We have shifted our people into better paying jobs, stable career paths, and industries that are in demand like construction, hospitality, automotive, ship repair, and retail. We are seeing the results of these programs in a declining unemployment rate and, as we announced yesterday, a rise in the Gross Domestic Product to 1.1%, which is a tremendous achievement from the previous year of -11.4%,” said Governor Leon Guerrero.

Through public-private investment and partnerships, there are approximately 630 active registered apprentices on Guam who earn income while learning skills from more than 50 occupations. Through the Guam Registered Apprenticeship Program (GRAP), $17 million in tax credits have gone to local businesses toward the salaries of apprentices who are trained into positions for which they may not otherwise qualify. On a yearly average, over 250 apprentices benefit from GRAP through more than 15 employers with those numbers trending upward.

“I want to recognize the leadership at the Guam Department of Labor (GDOL) and Guam Community College (GCC). Through this partnership, relevant registered apprenticeship programs have been developed very rapidly and have evolved over time to better suit the needs of our people and business community,” said Lt. Governor Tenorio. “The business sector has also been instrumental in transforming and elevating the careers of hundreds of people and protecting local jobs. I want to congratulate everyone for a job well done.”

National Apprenticeship Week is celebrated from November 14 to 20, 2022 and recognizes the work of registered apprentices, employers, schools, and apprenticeship program sponsors in providing and promoting career development across a growing variety of trades and industries. Participants are provided on-the-job training and classroom instruction.

“Now that the island is recovering from the pandemic, businesses are operating at normal hours, and people have returned to work, we plan to aggressively develop and expand these programs to more people, including our youth. The military buildup and the Administration’s success in securing record number H-2B laborers will result in increased funding to apprenticeship programs. We look forward to strengthening our partnerships with GCC and all our stakeholders,” said GDOL Director David Dell’Isola.

For more information or inquiries, contact the American Job Center at 671-475-7000/1 or visit dol.guam.gov.

EEOC Releases New “Know Your Rights” Poster

For Immediate Release – October 26, 2022

Hagåtña, Guam – The Guam Department of Labor would like to announce that the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has updated the “Know Your Rights” poster, which has not been updated since 2009. The poster can be found online at https://dol.guam.gov/compliance/fepd.

The new poster updates and replaces the previous “EEO is the Law” poster. Covered employers are required by federal law to prominently display the poster at their work sites. A number of laws the EEOC enforces require employers to post a notice describing the Federal laws prohibiting job discrimination. The poster summarizes these laws and explains that employees or applicants can file a charge if they believe they have experienced discrimination. The poster shares information about discrimination based on:

  • Race, color, sex (including pregnancy and related conditions, sexual orientation, or gender identity), national origin, religion;
  • Age (40 and older);
  • Equal Pay;
  • Disability;
  • Genetic Information (including family medical history or genetic tests or services); and includes
  • Retaliation for filing a charge, reasonably opposing discrimination, or participation in a discrimination lawsuit, investigation, or proceeding.

The changes to the “Know Your Rights” poster include:

  • Uses straightforward language and formatting;
  • Notes that harassment is a prohibited form of discrimination;
  • Clarifies that sex discrimination includes discrimination based on pregnancy and related conditions, sexual orientation, or gender identity;
  • Adds a QR code for fast digital access to the how to file a charge webpage (https://www.eeoc.gov/how-file-charge-employment-discrimination); and
  • Provides information about equal pay discrimination for federal contractors.

The posters should be placed in a conspicuous location in the workplace where notices to applicants and employees are customarily posted. In addition to physically posting, covered employers are encouraged to post a notice digitally on their websites in a conspicuous location.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires that notices of Federal laws prohibiting job discrimination be made available in a location that is accessible to applicants and employees with disabilities that limit mobility.

The poster can also be found on the EEOC website at https://www.eeoc.gov/poster.

For more information, contact the Fair Employment Practice Division of the Guam Department of Labor at 671-300-4544 or visit our website at https://dol.guam.gov/compliance/fepd/.

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