Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz yesterday expressed gratitude to DOLE’s social partners—international agencies, private sector employers, local government units, and Public Employment Service Offices (PESO) for their strong support that has made the JobStart Philippines program’s pilot implementation highly successful.


At the same time, she called on them to demonstrate stronger commitment and more effective convergence to channel and continue the success of the pilot phase to its nationwide roll-out phase.


“The JobStart journey began with a single step. Although the first year of the program had been hard and long for some of us, we are now reaping the fruits of our labors, personified with the 601 graduates who are all job-ready and primed for the challenges of the job market,” said Baldoz at the first graduation ceremony for JobStart beneficiaries, held at the Midas Tent in Pasay City.


Congratulating even the parents of the beneficiaries who stood as witnesses at their children’s graduation from JobStart, Baldoz said:


“When the JobStart program went into full swing in 2014, we were bent on providing you the best possible full-cycle employment facilitation service which includes a tried-and-tested strategic range of enhanced career assessment and guidance, life-skills training, technical skills training, and internship. Now we have succeeded in our goal.”
Of the 601 graduates, 168 each received a certificate of completion for having accomplished the entire three cycles of the JobStart Program, while 433 graduates each received a certificate of participation. The 433 graduates were those who have either completed at least 2 to 3 months of the internship phase only (45 ); have completed the technical training phase only, (142); or have found jobs after having completed the life-skills training only, or 246 graduates.


Baldoz bared that after the pilot stage of the program. the DOLE and its partners will execute the JobStart’s nation-wide roll-out plan starting this year, where 3,200 youth beneficiaries will be targeted along with 14 Public Employment Service Offices.


The 14 PESOs include the four pilot PESOs of Taguig City, San Fernando, Pampanga, Quezon City, and General Trias. The 10 other PESOs are those of the cities of Mandaluyong, Pasay, and Caloocan in the NCR; Bohol Province; Davao City; Tagum City; Puerto Princesa City; Cagayan de Oro City; Cebu City; and either Binan City or Tarlac City.


The DOLE has signed Memorandum of Understanding on JobStart with the chief executives of these local government units, except those of Binan or Tarlac and Cagayan de Oro.


“The roll-out will be until 2020, with the following targets: 24 PESOs and 6,200 beneficiaries in 2016; 34 PESOs and 9,200 beneficiaries in 2017; 44 PESOs and 12,200 beneficiaries in 2018; 54 PESOs and 15,200 beneficiaries in 2019; and 64 PESOs and 18,200 beneficiaries in 2010,” Baldoz said.


She also said that part of the long-term plan is the institutionalization of JobStart to make it a permanent fixture of the government’s job facilitation mandate.


“The DOLE sees JobStart as a long term proposition. That is why we have provided technical support to the House of Representatives and the Senate on the drafting of the JobStart bills, House Bill No. 5468 and Senate Bill 2889, respectively, and we are here to thank the Hon. Karlo Alexei Nograles, Representative, 1st District of Davao City, and Chairman of the House Committee on Labor and Employment; and the Hon. Juan Edgardo Angara, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Labor and Employment and Human Resources Development, for shepherding the JobStart Philippines program in the legislative branch,” she further said.


She also said the DOLE has submitted to the DBM a budget request of P29 million for JobStart for 2015, while for 2016, the budget department has already approved P106 million for 2016.


“We are following through possible funding support from the TESDA’s Training for Work Scholarship Program to support the technical skills training cycle of JobStart,” she said.


Along with Baldoz, present during the graduation ceremony were Kelly Bird, Director of the Asian Development Bank; H.E. Neil Reeder, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, Embassy of Canada; Rep. Nograles; and Sen. Angara.


Also in attendance were Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista; Taguig City Mayor Ma. Laarni Cayetano; San Fernando City Mayor Edwin Santiago; Gen. Trias Mayor Antonio Ferrer, Quezon City PESO Manager Carlo Magno Abella; Taguig PESO Manager Norman Mirabel; San Fernando PESO Manager Donny Sayre; and Gen. Trias PESO Manager Ariel Mugol.


The JobStart Program is part of the Technical Assistance Program on Employment Facilitation for Inclusive Growth (EFIG), a synergy between the DOLE, Asian Development Bank (ADB), and the Government of Canada that seeks to pave the way for necessary reforms needed to make the country’s labor market more pragmatic, responsive, and attuned to the demands of the global economy.


The program’s objective is to raise the job placement, to at least 80 percent from the current 60-65 percent rate, of young jobseekers, ages 18-24, who are either currently not working, or has less than a year of work experience; not enrolled in an educational or training program, or at least completed a high school education or more.


“We are set on a high gear, and we see sustained commitment from our partners. Convergence is what we need to solidify our efforts to contribute greatly to the realization of the Aquino III administration’s agenda of investing in the country’s top human resource by making them more competitive and employable,” Baldoz finally said.



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