By Joyetter Feagaimaalii-Luamanu
The Department of Commerce has completed the American Samoa Comprehensive Economic Development Strategic Plan 2013-2017, a five-year plan sent to the Economic Development Agency (EDA), and this was revealed in DOC’s Resource Management, Administration and Planning Division part of their first 100-days report to Governor Lolo Matalasi Moliga.
According to the planning division headed by Line Noue Memea Kruse, this five-year plan also included an addendum of projects to fund: transportation between Tutuila and Aunu’u; aquaculture in Manu’a and Tutuila; Pago Pago Shoreside Development; Sports tourism; Workforce initiative; Parole to workforce development program; a Health Careers Academy; American Samoa branding program to buy local agriculture; a Breadfruit Flour study; Manu’a Farmer’s Co-op; Tafuna Industrial Park Improvements; and assistance to the American Samoa Development Bank.
The report notes that DOC’s planning division has also prioritized projects that fall in line with Governor Lolo’s initiatives taken from the 2013 - 2017 Comprehensive Economic Development Strategies document: “Developed public private partnerships with the Chamber of Commerce, DBAS, DOE, and ASCC/UH Sea Grant to implement many of the economic development projects.”
A free workshop “How to Start a Business,” was held on March 22, 2013 in partnership with the Chamber of Commerce and DBAS that provided workshops/presentations on banking, lending, tax filing, business licensure, land use permits, and corporate structure of businesses. DOC business license and land use permitting; Permit Notification Review System representative departments (ASEPA, DPW, DPR, ASPA, DMWR, DHP, DPH); ANZ; DOH; were all there to answer community inquiries.
DOC in partnership with the ASCC/UH Sea Grant and Duke Purcell (fish farmer – genetically modified and traditional tilapia) have worked to develop a viable/sustainable 3-year fish farming program. “This 3-year program will be to train and provide a viable/sustainable program to develop fish farming as a profitable business with direct fish farming mentorship by Duke Purcell and fish feed manufacturing by ASCC/UH Sea Grant. “Fish meal provided for by Brett Butler to the ASCC/UH Sea Grant in the excess of 400 tons a week whereas the ASCC/UH Sea Grant is only using 1 ½ ton/month – the ASCC/UH Sea Grant will provide the training on how to create fish food with the fish meal.”
They are also promoting the Marketplace “First Friday” events to market the farmers, fisheries, and handicraft vendors and re-emphasis upon the First Friday events with DOC funded entertainment, tents and tables to create an enjoyable atmosphere.
PLANNING DIVISION: FUTURE PLANS DOC
Planning Division is looking at developing an incubator plan for the Marketplace incubator space. This is in collaboration with Herbert Thweatt of the Small Business Development Center, using SBDC's successful incubator efforts.
“Without a commercial kitchen, this incubator space will be strategically targeted for everything but the culinary arts.”
DOC is also looking at working on the Territorial Population Plan with DOH, DOE, AG, and DYW to address the potential rising youth population with policies. DOC in partnership with University of Hawai’i at Manoa is to create village development plans that comply to the American Samoa General Plan but also provide village level inventory of village assets, maps, natural resources, traditional areas (built and open [malae]) that could initiate a database of surveyed structures, amenities, and impact assessment.
“Ultimately these elements will create a village development plan that are inclusive of goals/objectives, policies, action plan, maps, and a summary of needs and challenges. University of Hawai’i at Manoa may also incorporate the WIA Summer Youth Program participants to be interns to work alongside the graduate students.
They will continue to work with the Department of Agriculture on the “Buy Local Initiative” for agriculture. “This type of economic project is an 'import substitution' project that would also strategically target the identified sector of importance to the Department of Commerce; Agriculture. According to the report, DOC has already met with Agriculture Director Lealao Mel Purcell on this initiative.
DOC is continuing their work with the Department of Education's Strategic School Improvement Plan College and Career Readiness Committee to incorporate trades classes and certification in the ECE – 16 classes. “The incorporation of trades classes and certification prepares all students to be college and career prepared before graduating from secondary and post-secondary schools."
“Currently, the committee is creating 16 career clusters and pathways according to the national Career and Technical Education Consortium with validated industry profile needs for American Samoa provided by the DOC to be recommended to the DOE Director and ASCC President for implementation in all ECE to 16 classes. DOC is recommending 16 career clusters and pathways to the DOE Steering Committee.
The report indicates that DOC will be working with American Samoa Visitors Bureau Director David Vaeafe to identify roles, responsibilities, and cost-sharing to implement the Tourism Master Plan with other government agencies involved in this matter.
DOC will be provide analysis and recommendations to the AS General Plan (adopted by Executive Order 005-2007). DOC will also be developing a profile of all local businesses inclusive with local and US Census data to create useful data sets of statistics to inform policies and prioritize projects based on the analysis of data and utilization for inter-departmental partnerships.