A bill that aims to help out-of-school youth find work by providing them access to technical and life skills training required by employers, and assistance to improve their job searches and outcomes, has been filed by Sen. Juan Edgardo Angara.
Under his Senate Bill (SB) 2889 or the JobStart Philippines Act, Angara seeks to assist at-risk youth improve their school-to-work transition and their integration into productive employment.
At-risk youth are defined as those who are not working or in training and who are not currently enrolled but with at least a high school education.
“There are still many employers who require people to have a college degree for a job that does not need such,” Angara, acting chairman of the committee on labor, employment and human resources, said.
Also, “many employers require work experience that many of our new graduates lack. This JobStart bill can help our youth land a job with the technical and life skills training provided under this program,” he added.
The April 2015 Labor Force Survey showed that youth unemployment contributes to half of the total 2.68 million unemployed Filipinos. This translates to 1.35 million unemployed youth aged 15 to 24 years.
Meanwhile, based on a survey released by the Philippine Statistics Authority this year, one in every 10 or about four million Filipino children and youth, aged 6 to 24 years, were out-of-school.
“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. They need more help and support,” Angara said.
“Under this bill, the JobStart model will be cascaded throughout the country, intending to replicate the gains that have already been achieved. Our public employment service offices (PESOs) will also be taking a more prominent role by offering enhanced employment facilitation services and providing improved local labor market information,” he added.
The senator was sponsor of a recently approved bill that ensures the establishment of PESOs in all provinces, municipalities and cities throughout the country.
The JobStart program was introduced in the Philippines in May last year, with funding support from the Government of Canada and technical assistance from the Asian Development Bank.
The program is composed of three cycles–life skills training, technical training and internship.
The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) launched the program with 1,800 JobStart trainees in four localities: General Trias, Cavite; San Fernando, Pampanga; and Taguig City and Quezon City (both in Metro Manila).
Of the 1,800 trainees, 677 JobStarters who completed the first cycle or the life skills training were immediately placed in various jobs, while many of those who went through technical training and internship were also absorbed by their training company and were retained by various manpower agencies.