Press Release
August 23, 2015


Senator Sonny Angara has filed 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.

Angara's Senate Bill 2889 or the JobStart Philippines Act seeks to institutionalize the JobStart Philippine Program, a labor market program to assist at-risk youth improve their school to work transition and their integration into productive employment.

At-risk youth is 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. Likewise, 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," said Angara, acting chairman of the committee on labor, employment and human resources.

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. Sila ang mas higit na nangangailangan ng ating tulong at suporta?" Angara said.

The JobStart program was introduced in the Philippines in May last year, with funding support form 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; Taguig City, and Quezon City.

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.

According to DOLE, these JobStarters are now working either as production staff, hospitality service staff, service crew, housekeeping attendant, gaming attendant, administrative/office staff, food and beverage staff, manufacturing operator, public area attendant, or store supervisor.

"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," said Angara, sponsor of the recently approved bill that ensures the establishment of PESOs in all provinces, municipalities and cities throughout the country.

In a recent public hearing on the JobStart bill, 19-year-old Jervielyn Flores, one of the beneficiaries of JobStart Philippines pilot program, shared her experiences on how the program significantly help her find work despite being a college dropout.

"Nakatulong po ang JobStart para po makilala ko ang aking sarili. At higit sa lahat, nakatulong po ito para makapasok po ako ng trabaho at makapag-ipon para makabalik po ako sa kolehiyo at makapagtapos po ng kurso na gusto ko talaga," Flores, who is now working for a hydroponics company, told Angara.

During the same hearing, the senator asked the Labor Department to closely coordinate with the Department of Social Welfare and Development so that the JobStart program can give priority to the beneficiaries of the conditional cash transfer program of the government.

Angara also asked the DOLE to consider including even high school dropouts in the program so as to help as many out-of-school youth as possible and provide them with employment opportunities that would enable them to rise from poverty.

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