GUAM DELEGATE UNDERWOOD WANTS PEOPLE TO COME BACK HOME

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By Scott Radway Pacific Daily News

HAGÅTÑA, Guam (August 10, 2001 – Pacific Daily News)---When the economy in Guam finally turns around, Delegate Robert Underwood said he wants everyone who left the island during the hard times to "come back home."

To that end, Underwood said he will push for the creation of a federal registry of workers who leave or have already left the island for better job opportunities.

"When recovery comes, I want our people to come back home where they belong," Underwood said.

The registry is in the conceptual stage and it is still undetermined exactly how it will be compiled or how it will be used to get people to return, he added.

The registry initiative was just one of the ideas that Underwood unveiled Wednesday during his 75-minute "State of Guam's Agenda in Washington, D.C.," speech.

Underwood also announced plans to work with the Pacific Rim Workforce Development Association to develop a worker training program in the region. In June, he signed an agreement with the association to create a strategy for a viable training program for the industrial arts.

The goal, he said, is to run the program through the region's various training and educational centers. Underwood said he also is working with the U.S. Labor Department, and that Labor Secretary Elaine Chao has committed her agency to tailoring its Job Corps Training Program to match the region's needs.

"Basically, we are trying to provide a mechanism to train local workers and make them available to contractors who come to the island," Underwood said.

In an effort to honor the 45 men and boys who were beheaded by the Japanese army on August 8, 1944, Underwood said he wants a memorial built on federal property in Yigo.

The delegate said he added language to a bill that will clear the way for the monument. That bill will now go before the House.

Last year, Underwood gained approval for a memorial for the Fena Cave Massacre. Underwood also fought to have Guam included in the national World War II monument to be built in Washington, D.C.

"Those who suffered should be honored and those who died should not be forgotten," Underwood said.

For additional reports from the Pacific Daily News, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/Pacific Daily News (Guam).

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