Enactment of JobStart program to boost youth employment–Angara
Senator Sonny Angara on Friday pressed for the enactment of JobStart Philippines Program that would help shorten the youth’s school-to-work transition by providing them full cycle employment facilitation services.
Angara is one of the authors of Senate Bill 3091 or the JobStart Philippines Act, which has been approved on third and final reading in the Senate.
The bill seeks to institutionalize the nationwide implementation of the JobStart Philippines Program to enhance the employability of the youth by giving them job search assistance, free technical and life skills trainings, placement in internships, and job referrals.
“Many of our youth are unemployed due to lack of the right skill sets for the jobs available in our country. JobStart program enhances the knowledge and skills acquired in formal education or technical training so our youth can become more employable and responsive to the demands of the labor market,” Angara said in a statement.
The statement cited the January 2016 Labor Force Survey, which showed that youth unemployment contributes to nearly half or 48.2 percent of the total 2.42 million unemployed Filipinos. This translates, the statement said, into 1.17 million unemployed youth aged 15 to 24 years.
Majority of the unemployed young people are high school graduates, totalling to 800,000, while unemployed college graduates stand at 480,000, the statement added.
“According to studies, it can take 18 months to two years before new college graduates can land a job while high school graduates can take up to four years. The job search is even longer for youth who drop out of school. JobStart Program aims to reduce their job search period from 2-4 years to 4-6 months,” said Angara.
To qualify for the JobStart program, the bill provides that one must be 18 to 24 years old, have at least reached high school level, not be employed, studying, or undergoing training and have no work experience or have less than one year of accumulated work experience.
The program, under the bill, should include full employment facilitation services such as registration, client assessment, life skills training with one-on-one career coaching, technical training, job matching, and referrals to employers either for further technical training, internship, or for decent employment.
The JobStart training period will be divided into three phases: 1) life skills training for 10 days; 2) technical training for up to three months; and 3) internship for not more than three months.
The bill also proposes daily allowance for JobStart trainees during the life skills and technical training, while during the internship stage, the participating employer must provide the trainees with a daily stipend of not less than 75 percent of the prevailing minimum wage where the establishment is located.
JobStart graduates, the bill said, should be given preference in the hiring of workers by the participating employers.
“Participating public employment service offices (PESOs) should make use of the skills registry system to manage records of JobStart trainees and employers for improved job matching and to develop local labor market information,” said Angara, also the sponsor and one of the authors of the recently amended PESO law.
Angara said JobStart’s pilot run, which started last year, has already produced 1,070 graduates, 783 of them found jobs or were absorbed by partner employers, registering a placement rate of 73 percent.
Most of the JobStart graduates, he said, are now working as production staff, hospitality service staff, service crew, sales agent and cashier, among others.
“Ang target ng programang ito ay ang humigit kumulang isang milyong kabataang tambay at mga walang trabaho (This program targets more or less 1 million unemployed youth). This program gives them a unique opportunity—that regardless of their educational attainment, they are still worth a shot at landing a decent job and helping their family rise from poverty,” the senator added. CDG
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