TECHNICAL Education and Skills Development Authority’s (Tesda) director general, Joel Villanueva, on Thursday said that Region 2 (Cagayan Valley) has yielded at least 2,000 graduates of technical and vocational education under the Cash for Training Program, a partnership program of the state skills training agency and the Department of Social Welfare and Development. “For the past several decades, technical vocational education and training [TVET] has been a poor stepchild of college education. Now, it is becoming a preference for many Filipino families,” Villanueva said during the commencement exercises at the Sicat Community Center in Santiago City in Isabela province and at the University of Cagayan Valley in Tuguegarao City. “Graduates of TVET now come in huge batches like our new Specialistas from Region 2. The education and training they received from the program put them on equal or even better footing with college or university graduates when it comes to employment search,” he said. Villanueva said a total of 1,994 graduates received their training certificate during the graduation ceremony in Tuguegarao City and Santiago City. There were 1,133 graduates from the provinces of Isabela, 111 from Nueva Viscaya and 750 from Cagayan.