DOLE Davao JobStartDavao City — With the aim to cut down the rising youth unemployment in the country, a government agency is set to roll out a program that will enhance employability of the youth.

The Department of Labor and Employment is set to launch this year JobStart Philippines identifying local government units of Davao City and Tagum City as among the second –wave of pilot sites for the program.

“The program aims to help young Filipino jobseekers, 18 to 24 years old with less than one year or no work experience, at least high school graduate who is not currently working or enrolled in school or training and is seeking for a job; to get a head start in their career by creating opportunities to enhance their technical skill and develop their life skill,” said Bureau of Local employment Director Domique R. Tutay during the JobStart Orientation in Davao City.

“This also aims to increase employment creation and reduce poverty as it will help young adults to have the right skills that would fit a job and can lead them in finding their permanent wage jobs,” she added.

According to a survey on Youth School-To-Work (STW) Transition conducted by Asian Development Bank (ADB), it takes a college graduate 1 year to find a first job and up to 2 years to find a regular job while it takes a high school leaver up to 3 years to find a first job and 4 years to find a regular wage job. The significant factors that influence the length and quality of the STW transition include the limited social networks and inadequate life skills including job search behavior.

“Unemployment in the country can be largely attributed to mismatches between demand and supply of labor, and big part of the unemployed population is consists of young educated workers with a high youth NEET (not in employment, education and training) rate of 24.3%”, Tutay said.

“The JobStart Philippines pilot provided life skills training focusing on attitudes to work and workplace environment, job hunting skills and networking, personal and interpersonal skills, and health and financial management,” said Regional Director Joffrey M. Suyao.

JobStart Philippines also funded technical skills training of up to 3 months with competencies and subjects as nominated by the employer, can be technically specific or generic or can be a mix of competencies, provided by a TESDA-registered training provider, or another employer designated trainer, or employer training program, Suyao explained.

In the first wave of pilot implementation, four institutionalized Public Employment Service Offices (PESOs) for this program: NCR (Quezon City and Taguig), Region IV-A (General Trias City), and Region III (San Fernando City). In 2015, DOLE is looking forward for 14 PESOs, including the four pilots, to carry the JobStart Philippines program with a target of 3,200 beneficiaries.

In a response during the orientation in Tagum City, Mayor Allan Rellon said: “We are ready for the JobStart Philippines program because we have already implemented some of its requirements like support PESO, data banking and enough personnel complement.”

DOLE is in partnership with Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of Canada for this program. JobStart Philippines program is also part of the Technical Assistance Program on Employment Facilitation for Inclusive Growth (EFIG). (Sherwin B. Manual/DOLEDavao)