DOLE set to launch JobStart Philippines in order to address youth unemployment

admin   •   June 17, 2014   •   12250

Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) logo

From the Department of Labor and Employment via Official Gazette

The country’s unemployment rate will go down by at least half if youth unemployment is solved.

Secretary of Labor and Employment Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz expressed this view yesterday as the DOLE prepares for the implementation of the JobStart Philippines program in four pilot areas this month.

JobStart is a partnership program of the DOLE, Asian Development Bank (ADB), and the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) which aims to increase the employability of the youth by providing them access to technical and life skills training demanded by employers and by mentoring and tooling them to improve their job searches and outcomes.

The project will also finance vouchers that will enable some 1,600 youth-beneficiaries to gain work experience in companies through on-the-job training.

Baldoz noted that youth unemployment, while it had decreased by 1.1 percent, or by 13,000–from 16.8 percent in April 2013 to 15.7 percent in April 2014–still accounts for almost half, or 49.8 percent, of the country’s total unemployed placed at 2.924 million.

There are 1.456 million unemployed youth as of April 2014, according to the Philippine Statistical Authority’s Labor Force Survey, accounting for 16 percent of the total youth labor force of 9.254 million. The youth belong to the 15-24 age bracket.

“The fact remains that youth unemployment rate is more than double the national unemployment rate and, therefore, this is a challenge we all need to address,” Baldoz said.

She explained that through JobStart, youths-at risk aged 18-24 years of age, who are either currently not working, or has less than a year of work experience, and who are not enrolled in an educational or training program, or who have at least completed a high school education, can access technical and like skills training and on-the-job opportunities that will improve their chances in the world of work.

“JobStart’s objective is to raise the youth job placement rate to 80 percent from the current 60-65 percent rate,” Baldoz said.

The four areas chosen for the JobStart pilot program are Quezon City, with 900 allotted beneficiaries; Taguig City, 240; City of San Fernando, Pampanga, 360; and General Trias, Cavite, 100.

The DOLE had signed memorandum of understanding with the mayors of these four local government units (LGUs) to pilot the program and agreements with employers for internship slots. As of date, 74 employers have pledged internships for the youth beneficiaries in their companies.

In Quezon City, 11 companies offered 514 internship slots. Taguig City had 13 companies with 307 internship offers. In the city of San Fernando in Pampanga, 40 companies had offered 629 internship slots, and in General Trias in Cavite, 10 companies have slots for 215 interns.

“The agreements with private sector employers to take on beneficiaries as interns ensure that the process is employer-led. At the onset, a training plan is agreed upon between the JobStart team, the intern, and the employer. This plan will cover technical and life skills and on-the job training at the enterprises,” Baldoz said.

Under JobStart, the youth beneficiaries shall receive full-cycle employment facilitation services that include (1) Career Guidance and Coaching, to be provided by PESO staff and other trained career guidance coaches and advocates; (2) Life Skills training for eight days; (3) Technical skills training for up to three months; and (4) Company-based internships for up to six months.

Moreover, Baldoz bared that the interns will receive stipends of between P200 to P300 during their training and 75 percent of minimum wage during their six-month internship. On the other hand, employers will receive P9,000 in training fee per intern they will accommodate.

“As the program involves employers as partners who will have the opportunity to demonstrate corporate social responsibility in the communities where they operate, I have directed Director Dominique Tutay of the Bureau of Local Employment to work with the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) so that the JobStart Program can be readily replicated in other places outside of the pilot areas. They have to already identify employers and to consider financing the program from the DOLE’s regular budget, as well as the TESDA’s TWSP program budget,” Baldoz explained.

“The JobStart Program is a pivotal step in improving the youth employment situation in the country through the effective delivery of current labor market information, employment services, skills-jobs matching mechanisms, and other job search reforms,” she added.

She said the Philippines needs not just the support of international agency-partners, but also of local government units, especially the Public Employment Service Offices, or PESOs, to make the program an effective delivery mechanism of the government’s array of employment services.

“It will make accessible labor market information to more students–our future workers–especially in the regions,” she added.

For this purpose, the JobStart Program has established a monitoring and impact evaluation framework. All beneficiaries, and one non-beneficiary groups of similar qualifications will be tracked throughout the program and six months after its completion in July 2015 to assess if it has significantly improved the employability of the youth.

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Bello tells micro, small biz:  Apply for a 13th-month pay loan

Maris Federez   •   November 15, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has announced that micro and small enterprises that are having difficulty in financing the 13th-month pay of their employees can apply for a government loan.

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III made the call on Friday during the ceremonial launch of the loan program with the Department of Trade and Industry and its financing arm, the Small Business Corporation (SBCorp), reminding employers that the grant of 13th-month pay is mandatory.

The labor chief, however, assured establishments that are still struggling amid the re-opening of the economy of the government’s support through SBCorp.

“Let me remind the employers that the grant of 13th-month pay is mandatory. We issued a Labor Advisory where we maintained that no exemption and no deferment will be allowed on the payment of the 13th-month pay,” Bello said.

“So, with this loan facility from SB Corporation, there is no more reason to not give the 13th-month pay,” he added.

As of November 12, a total of 25 loan applications amounting to P5.052 million were already approved by SBCorp.

DOLE said qualified borrowers are the micro and small enterprises that have implemented flexible work arrangements and registered under the agency’s Establishment Reporting System as of October 15, 2021.

The zero-interest rate, no collateral loan program can cover up to 40 employees per establishment.

The loanable amount is at P12,000 per current employee which is payable in 12 months, inclusive of the three-month grace period.

“I encourage our employers, especially yung mga nahihirapan pa, to avail of this facility so that they can comply with the mandate to pay our workers with what is due them, especially this Christmas season,” said Bello.

The labor chief invites interested micro and small enterprises to apply at www.bayanihancares.ph. —/mbmf

PH to re-deploy OFWs after South Korea lifts restrictions – DOLE

Robie de Guzman   •   November 8, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Overseas Filipino workers will soon be re-deployed to South Korea after entry restrictions into the country have been lifted, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) said.

In a statement on Sunday, DOLE Secretary Silvestre Bello III said he has directed the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) to commence the processing of deployment of workers as he welcomed the South Korean government’s decision.

“This is a very good news not only to our EPS (entry permit system) workers and their families, but also to the Korean employers who have been waiting for our workers to return,” he said.

Last Friday, Korea’s Ministry of Employment and Labor (MOEL) announced it will allow the entry of workers under EPS from all sending countries, including the Philippines starting this November.

According to MOEL, the entry of EPS workers will be subject to pre-entry measures such as full vaccination and negative PCR test results, and post-entry measures such as mandatory quarantine and PCR testing.

The Korean Embassy in the Philippines said it is awaiting guidelines from the South Korean government on the issuance of E9 visas to Filipino EPS workers.

Bello said he has directed the POEA to immediately meet with the Korean government officials to discuss the requirements and procedures for the re-entry of EPS workers to Korea, in coordination with the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) in the Philippine Embassy in Seoul.

Since 2004, the Philippines has been sending Filipino workers to Korea under a government-to-government cooperation agreement on EPS.

The deployment of workers was temporarily halted in 2020 due to the COVID pandemic.

Bello: KSA to pay P4.6B unpaid salaries of OFWs in December

Maris Federez   •   November 1, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has announced that overseas Filipino workers (OFW) who were forced to return to the Philippines after they stopped receiving remuneration will be able to receive their unpaid salaries in December.

The DOLE said the government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) is expected to pay P4.6 billion in unpaid salaries to 9,000 OFWs.

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, in a statement, said he is optimistic the payment will be made when KSA Labor Minister Ahmed al-Rajhi visits the country in December this year.

“So, the unpaid salaries of our OFWs can be settled just in time for Christmas,” the Labor chief said.

Bello was in KSA last week to attend the Abu Dhabi Dialogue, a forum for talks and cooperation between Asian Countries of labor origin and destination.

It aims to enable safe, orderly, and regular labor migration in some of the world’s largest temporary labor migration corridors.

There, Bello was invited by Al-Rajhi for a private meeting where the KSA labor executive appealed for the lifting of the suspension on Arab mega recruitment agencies.

These agencies were reportedly the ones who were responsible for the deployment of OFWs whose salaries and benefits remained unpaid.

Bello assured Al Rahji that the Philippines would lift the deployment ban in exchange for the payment of salaries of the OFWs.

Repatriated by the government in 2016, the unpaid OFWs, through the help of state lawyers, won the case over their unsettled pay in KSA.

Despite the legal victory, however, the KSA government refused to pay the OFWs.

“But our government is really thankful that the meeting with the KSA labor minister was fruitful,” Bello said. —/mbmf

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