Labor, banking, local government and development officials joined representatives from USDA in Guam last month for a jobs forum, one of a number scheduled across America. The Obama Administration, through USDA Rural Development and Farm Service Agency staff, is seeking comments from Americans in all walks of life, including small business owners and local leaders following a jobs summit at the White House in December.
Those participating noted that Guam’s economy is separate from the United States, and closely tied to Japan’sas well as to other Asian markets. Transportation costs are high. For example, the island of Rota is just 18 miles from Guam, but those speaking said the cost of shipping between the islands is the same as the cost of shipping from California to Guam.
Officials were told that Guam needs a supply of skilled labor and more training opportunities. On the plus side, military activity and service businesses, like restaurants, are economic drivers. Topics that were discussed to boost the economy include promoting a “buy local” movement, developing agricultural products for local residents to buy and eat, improving inter-island infrastructure and becoming a regional educational and business hub.
The comments received at the meeting, and those posted on the USDA blog, will be provided to USDA and White House officials for review. USDA officials in Hawaii conducted a jobs meeting yesterday (Wednesday) and another is set for tomorrow (Friday).
For a list of scheduled jobs meetings by state or to learn more, go to the Rural Development and FSA Job Roundtables Schedule, and the News Release, “USDA to Host Roundtables on Jobs, Economic Growth”.