JobStart beneficiaries testify: ‘JobStart gives what it takes to be employable’

Jennifer F. Fortaleza, 21, used to be very shy. Last year, after she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in fisheries from the Romblon State University, she moved to Manila to find for her first job which—because she was unexperienced, and therefore, unprepared—eluded her.
One day, she saw an announcement about JobStart Philippines at a bulletin board of the hall of Brgy. Pinagsama, Taguig City, where she lives. She registered with the program right away.
Jennifer’s job readiness was assessed. She received enhanced career guidance. She was selected as a JobStart beneficiary, together with several others, to undergo full-cycle employment facilitation—life skills training, job matching, interview and selection by employers, training plan preparation, signing of internship contract, technical training, and finally, internship.
“JobStart was transformative. Under the program, I learned how to relate with others, how to look presentable, how to write a ‘powerful’ resume. All of these have helped me improve my confidence,” Fortaleza said.
Jennifer’s new skills earned her an internship slot at the TKC Steel Corporation, an investment holding company engaged in the manufacture, distribution, marketing, and sale of steel products primarily in the Philippines and China.
She is now in her second month of technical training at TKC.
“Even if I do not get hired by this company, I feel confident I can land a job because I have training and job experience to put in my resume,” said the fishery graduate who, after learning about available jobs in the local labor market through JobStart, expressed preference to work in an office.
Edmond Tadeo, 20, from Brgy. San Pedro, San Fernando, Pampanga, like Jennifer, qualified for a slot in JobStart.
A high school graduate, Edmond has five months of job experience, having worked as pump attendant in a gasoline station and as structural welder in a construction company. Then, he didn’t think about his future career.
“In the past, I worked for the sake of just having a job. I didn’t value what I was doing,” he said.
His training with JobStart changed all that, most importantly, his attitude. He is now more career-oriented and goal-driven, which he credits to the life skills lessons he learned from JobStart.
“From JobStart, not only did I learn how to deal with other people. More importantly, I learned to respect my job because the program taught me to set a long-term career goal,” Tadeo narrated.
He is now in his second month of internship as a decorative painter at Carats Manufacturing, a San Fernando, Pampanga-based exporter of hand-made novelty items. It was also at the company where he underwent a three-month technical training.
“Being just a high school graduate, I did not know that I could dream high. I am now determined to establish myself in the long run in this creative manufacturing industry,” he proudly said, adding that he had diversified his skills while working at Carats, doing not just decorative painting, but other jobs, such as carpentry.
Jennifer and Edmond are two of the 3,407 youths pre-selected; of the 1,520 placed for life-skills training; and of the 462 referred for internship under the first wave of implementation of JobStart Philippines, the pioneering program that introduces full-cycle employment facilitation services, a comprehensive and systematic approach in assisting young jobseekers from planning their career paths all the way through acquiring the best-fit jobs through career guidance, life skills and technical training, and internship.
“This model borrows good practices in employment facilitation services from Chile, Kenya, and the United States, and is the first in the Asian region,” said Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz.
“As a pioneering program, JobStart Philippines intends to help young people jumpstart their careers by creating opportunities to improve their technical skills and develop the life skills necessary for success in today’s competitive workplace,” she added.
Funded by the Government of Canada through the Asian Development Bank, JobStart is designed for young people between 18-24 years old; at least high school graduates; no job experience or have no more than one year of experience; and currently not in employment, not enrolled in school or in any training, and actively seeking work.
Under the program, qualified beneficiaries are provided with knowledge on conducting job searches; access to career guidance and employment coaching; access to relevant Labor Market Information (LMI) and Public Employment Services Office (PESO) infrastructure; and referral to potential employers.
“In JobStart, young people develop holistic employability through multi-faceted training, such as life skills training, an eight-day immersion that develops attitudes towards work and workplace environment; job hunting skills and networking; personal and interpersonal skills; and health and financial management,” explained Baldoz.
“They also receive technical training of up to three months; up to six months of on-the-job training with an employer; a training stipend during the technical training; and an allowance of at least 75 percent of the minimum wage while with the employer while on-the-job-training (OJT),” she added.
Ma. Krizelle F. Manalac, 21, received these holistic, full-cycle employment facilitation services as a JobStart qualifier. Only 21, Ma. Krizelle, from Brgy Bagumbuhay, Quezon City, had started, but failed, to complete her college education due to financial constraints.
“With so many fresh graduates competing in the job market every year, I really thought I did not have what it takes to become employable,” she said.
“JobStart, through its career guidance training, helped change my mindset. Through its life skills training, it changed my view of myself. Now, I have what it takes to become employable,” added Ma. Krizelle, who has recently completed her technical training as office staff at Internlink Manpower Services. She will soon commence her six-month internship—a bundle of experiences that will make her job-ready.
Baldoz said many more young people will be benefited by JobStart this year.
“We see that 14 PESOs will be able participate in JobStart in 2015. In addition to the four pilot PESOs—Gen Trias, Cavite; Quezon City, Taguig City, and San Fernando City, Pampanga—10 more PESOs, five from the NCR and five from outside the NCR, will be joining. Our target number of youth going through JobStart and job placements is 300 each in the four pilot areas and 200 each in the 10 PESOs in Bohol, Cebu, Davao, Tagum, and Palawan, for a total of 3,200 beneficiaries,” she said.

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