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The latest news from Northern Marianas College

THE Customs and Biosecurity Academy, in partnership with Northern Marianas College, kicked off last week with 31 cadets attending the first cycle. The classroom session is held at the Division of Customs - Seaport's warehouse in Puerto Rico.

Customs Director Jose Mafnas presented to the media on Monday the first cycle cadets who are attending the class conducted by NMC Criminal Justice Department chair Clement R. Bermudes.

As part of their training, Mafnas said the cadets will earn 40 college credits from NMC and will have the opportunity to earn additional credits so they can obtain their college degree.

The academy is the fulfillment of a memorandum of agreement between the Department of Finance — for its Customs and Quarantine division — and NMC. 

Under the agreement, NMC and Finance will work together to train the Customs and Biosecurity cadets.

Those cadets who participate in the academy will receive training and professional development opportunities that relate to their responsibilities. They will also be considered full-time NMC students and will have access to student services, programs and financial aid available to NMC students.

Those who will complete the academy course can use their college credits toward the completion of a degree in the field of criminal justice.

Mafnas said of the 31 cadets of the first cycle, four already have bachelor’s degrees so they are attending the customs operations part of the course only.

Special Assistant for Customs Enforcement Col. James C. Deleon Guerrero, for his part, said they are grateful to Finance Secretary David DLG Atalig for allowing Customs to “keep” the cadets after graduation.

Bermudes said the Customs and Biosecurity Academy, the first in the CNMI, “demonstrates [NMC’s] strong partnership with an enforcement agency.”

With this academy, he added, “we are creating a pathway for professionals in customs and biosecurity.”

“We are happy and proud to partner with Customs and Biosecurity and the Department of Finance,” Bermudes said.