Palau Community College is already providing certification in vocational skills areas qualifying their students for the Skilled Labor Act benefits, revealed Dr. Patrick Tellei, President of Palau Community College, in an interview with Island Times.
The Skilled Labor Act, as recently amended by RPPL 10-45 to include tourism and information technology fields, provides an incentive to employers to hire students trained and certified in certain vocational skills areas by Palau Community College. An employer, through this law, can deduct double the salary of the employee from their gross receipts before paying the 4% gross receipt tax to the government. The employee must have obtained a certification from Palau Community College to qualify.
“We have three certification programs already in place,” said Dr. Patrick Tellei yesterday. “The Level 1 is Certificate of Competence which is awarded to students that have completed training programs such as Job Corp, Civic Action Team Training, and Adult Education. For this certification, we recommend to employers, a salary of $4.50 per hour or more. Level 2 is the Certification of Completion which would apply to someone that have obtained 21 credits from PCC. Recommended starting salary is $5 to $6 per hour. Level 3 is Certificate of Mastery which apply to students that receive AA/AS/AAL and we recommend starting salary of $6 to $7 dollars per hour,” added Dr. Tellei.
Dr. Tellei said these are not mandatory salaries but highly recommended to employers. “Upon graduation now, Guam and Saipan send recruiters to Palau to meet graduates and offer them jobs at much higher salary than this. In fact, they hired a Palauan who speaks the language to sweet talk these graduates to take up jobs in Guam and Saipan,” said Dr. Tellei.
For the newly added skill areas in tourism and information technology, Dr. Tellei said that they still have to consult with the industry on what exactly is needed before they develop the certification programs for these fields.
The law seeks to provide greater incentives for locally based employers to hire local workers as reported by Senator Phillip Reklai, the author of the amendment to RPPL 9-22. The law added, it is important that “Palau incentivizes pursuit of success through certification amongst its people.”
President Remengesau Jr., last week, signed an amendment to RPPL 9-22 adding tourism and information technology to the list of vocational skill areas that PCC can certify and employers can gain tax incentives by hiring the locally certified graduates. (L.N. Reklai)