The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a $400 million policy-based loan to support the Philippine government’s efforts to expand youth employment and skills programs to help young Filipinos find quality jobs.
The Facilitating Youth School-to-Work Transition Program, Subprogram 3, builds on nearly a decade of ADB support to the government in shortening the time at-risk young Filipinos spend to find work after leaving school. The program will assist the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) in boosting the job facilitation capacity of Public Employment Services Offices (PESOs) nationwide, strengthening labor market programs, improving workplace skills development, and creating a healthy work environment.
“The pandemic has led to job losses in many sectors, especially among young people. There is an urgent need to help young Filipinos find work through innovative labor market programs and skills development initiatives. This new loan reflects our long-term commitment to ensuring that young people find jobs to improve their lives and create a wider employment base for post-pandemic economic growth,” said ADB Director for Public Management, Financial Sector, and Trade for Southeast Asia Jose Antonio Tan III.
The subprogram follows the two loans approved in 2017 and 2019. Those loans helped fund reforms that led to the full operationalization of PESOs and established DOLE’s flagship JobStart Philippines program, which provided over 20,000 at-risk youth with life skills training and paid internships, and strengthened apprenticeships. The third subprogram will also strengthen government measures to address the impact of the pandemic on youth employment.
“This loan will help young job seekers, especially women, access training opportunities and enhance their skills development. It will strengthen labor market policies and provide assistance to returning Filipino workers who lost jobs overseas because of the pandemic through group livelihood and entrepreneurship programs,” said ADB Principal Financial Sector Specialist for Southeast Asia Stephen Schuster.
Among the reforms supported by the new loan is the creation of a Php1 billion ($200 million) Tulong Trabaho (Job Assistance) Scholarship Fund, the unemployment insurance scheme, and the First Time Jobseekers Act. The program assisted in the development of an online Life Skills Training program for JobStart covering digital literacy, mental health, reproductive health and rights, women’s empowerment, and work values.
ADB is preparing more support for the labor sector in 2022, including a technical and vocational education and training (TVET) project and a post-coronavirus disease (COVID-19) employment recovery program.