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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

DOLE promotes quality jobs through livelihood, skills training programs

More workers are expected to benefit from the enhanced drive of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to expand its livelihood and skills training programs in creating greater employment opportunities in the country.
 During the recent DOLE-wide planning exercises, Labor and Employment Secretary Marianito D. Roque directed concerned DOLE offices and attached agencies, particularly those in the regions, to intensify and expand the implementation of DOLE programs such as Kabuhayan Starter Kit, Nego-kart, and other relevant livelihood, entrepreneurial, and skills training programs to bring down the country’s unemployment and underemployment figures.
 The DOLE Kabuhayan Starter Kit or DK Starter Kit is a micro-business enterprise development concept intended for those who prefer putting up their own businesses as an alternative source of income. It consists of a package of priorities and services that will enable qualified beneficiaries to quickly start a livelihood undertaking and become self-employed like simple house-to-house service oriented skills, skills that can be enhanced through short period training, as well as new skills that can be acquired through formal training.
 The Nego-Kart or Negosyo sa Kariton, meanwhile, is a financial assistance program of DOLE aimed at helping ambulant vendors in major cities of the country enhance their current livelihood. Under the program, each beneficiary is provided with P15,000 assistance including a Nego-Kart vending cart and accessory tools worth P12,000 along with P 2,500 working capital and P500 worth of training assistance. Assistance in securing business permit is also provided.
 Another unique DOLE program which pursues computer literacy and internet skills among out-of-school youth, indigenous people, and disadvantaged workers is in full-swing. The Kabataan-ITO or K-ITO project provides IT skills to beneficiaries through the help of volunteer mentors, thereby giving them opportunities to land jobs in the information technology industry. This program targets beneficiaries in the rural areas.
 “By identifying regions where there are high incidence of unemployment and underemployment, we can prioritize areas where we can expand these programs,” Roque explained.
 Citing Albay Governor Joey Salceda’s account that Bicol is the country’s tambay capital, the DOLE Secretary said the observation could be attributed to the region’s being primarily an agricultural area where work is often seasonal. Salceda, referring to an October 2009 NSO report, said that the region has a 37% underemployment rate, almost twice the country’s average underemployment rate of 19%. 
 Roque said the DOLE’s enhanced efforts will promote quality jobs boosting employment and livelihood opportunities in the countryside fit the needs of workers in Bicol. In between cropping seasons, farmers and agricultural workers may engage in livelihood projects for alternative income as these endeavors are year-round. For those not into agricultural work, the DOLE can help train them in industries that may emerge in line with the development plans set for the province.
 He reiterated, however, that DOLE programs are implemented regardless of the economic status of the region concerned as long as there are potential developments for workers and the industries in the area. The idea is to make the available workforce skilled and competent to match the requirements of the industry in their area.
 He cited the BPO sector which is projected to expand and employ 900,000 workers by the end of the year. He in this regard asked the DOLE regional offices to coordinate with the Technical Skills Education Authority (TESDA) in training interested workers in their regions with necessary skills needed by BPOs.

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