MCDONALD'S Philippines continues to strengthen its commitment to shape the next generation of the Filipino workforce through employment programs such as the Special Program of Employment for Students or SPES.

In a recent gathering between the quick service restaurant chain, the Department of Labor and Employment (Dole), and Public Employment Service Office (PESO), McDonald’s celebrated and further solidified its partnership with the two organizations as they work together in service of the Filipino youth.

“As we start 2017, McDonald’s is excited for a stronger and more collaborative partnership with Dole and PESO for SPES and other programs. McDonald’s Philippines is committed to being a partner in growth through employment,” said McDonald’s Philippines VP for Human Capital Group Chona Torre.

SPES was launched by DOLE to give deserving high school, college or vocational/technical students, and out-of-school youth an opportunity to finance their education and eventually obtain regular employment. Screened with the help of PESO, participants undergo a 52-day employment program where they get to learn both technical and soft skills as they work for different companies. McDonald's was the first quick service restaurant chain to get on board the program, where beneficiaries undergo the same training that regular McDonald's service crewmembers experience.

Since 2011, McDonald's has been closely working with partners Dole and PESO in growing the SPES program. From just 32 restaurants, the program now runs in 380 McDonald's stores in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. This translates to over 13,000 SPES beneficiaries, with 15% absorbed as regular employees of McDonald's Philippines at the end of 2016. McDonald's is eyeing more SPES beneficiaries this 2017, particularly in provincial area as it opens more new stores.

Last year, McDonald’s also inked its partnership with JobStart, a 6-month program that aims to prepare young Filipinos for employment by providing them with career coaching, life skills, technical trainings, and internship opportunities with different employers from various industries.

Aside from growth in sales and restaurants in 2016, McDonald's Philippines also grew in terms of its people, with over 50,000 regular employees nationwide.