ADB approves new $400-M loan to back Jobstart program

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THE Asian Development Bank (ADB) approved a $400-million loan for the second subprogram of the Facilitating Youth School-to-Work Transition Program, which will support the Department of Labor and Employment’s (DoLE) Jobstart scheme for at-risk youth.

JobStart is a five-year-old DoLE program to enhance employability via one-on-one career coaching, technical skills training, and paid internships with private sector employers.

Its beneficiaries include Jundelyn Baylosis Sato, 23, a person with disability (PWD) who visited her local government unit’s (LGU) Public Employment Service Office (PESO) in Kidapawan City in 2017, the ADB said in a statement.

“JobStart… didn’t reject me despite my condition, but instead they helped me build my confidence. I even gained friends through JobStart,” said Sato, a 2016 graduate from the University of Southern Mindanao with a Bachelor of Technical Teachers’ Education degree. She eventually found work as a vocational teacher.

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In 2011, the Philippine government, through DoLE, requested assistance from the ADB to explore ways to improve government employment facilitation systems, which led to the establishment of PESOs as the LGUs’ frontline office for employment information and services.

The ADB helped design and implement the JobStart pilot project to assist the school-to-work transition of at-risk youth — those who are out of school, unemployed, and not getting any training.

There are now 35 LGUs administering the program nationwide. The ADB and the government of Canada helped fund the pilot program.

“Young people struggling to find jobs after they leave school is still a persistent problem in the Philippines. Our studies show it can take the average Filipino youth up to four years to find a wage job,” said ADB Country Director for the Philippines Kelly Bird.

“Creating wage jobs for the youth is critical to helping reduce poverty and income inequality in the country. We are committed to continuing ADB’s strong partnership with DoLE in youth employment programs,” he said.

In 2016, the law institutionalizing the nationwide implementation of JobStart took effect, guaranteeing the sustainability of the program with regular government funding after a successful pilot.

More than 200 employers have so far partnered with the government under the JobStart program, benefiting more than 20,000 out-of-school youths about three-fifths of whom are women and more than two-thirds coming from low-income households.

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