THE regional office of the Department of Labor and Employment (Dole)-Davao Region will be expanding its JobStart Philippines Program (JPP) in the region this year by launching three additional areas that would cater to around 600 jobseekers.

Dole Davao Region Senior Labor and Employment officer Lariele Arce said Monday, February 27, during Kapehan sa Dabaw at SM City Davao that in addition to the existing two pilot areas in Tagum City and Davao City, they would also implement JPP in Panabo City in Davao del Norte and Sta. Cruz and Digos City in Davao del Sur.

JPP is the flagship project of Dole to decrease the unemployment rate among youth by assisting them in looking for a job. It is being implemented through the local Public Employment Service Office (Peso) offices of the cities or municipalities.

This program is funded by the Asian Development Bank through the government of Canada and is aimed to develop the potentials of the youth to be equipped with employability skills, both soft and hard.

“Our main objective is we would like to increase the employability skills of our at-risk youth,” Arce said.

According to her, JPP was implemented in the region last year where qualified “JobStarters” will undergo 10 days of life skills training and up to three months of JobStart-funded technical training; then another three months of work experience with a matched employer/establishment.

The participants to the JobStart Program will receive a P200 daily allowance during the training period and the interns who will undergo on-the-job training (OJT) will also be receiving at least 75 percent of the minimum wage while the employers will also receive P1,000 per trainee.

The first batch of 109 JPP enrollees in Tagum will graduate this March 1 while another 120 in Davao City will graduate by the first week of April.

Arce said after the graduation, Dole will assist the graduates in finding their employer through their partner companies and she expressed her confidence that those who went through the program will have a 100 percent placement rate.

“Last year our target is 200 and this year we target another 600 enrollees," she said.

Dole’s target beneficiaries are those who are those youth-at risk who are not in employment, education and training (NEET) aging from 18 to 24 years old at least one year experience or preferably no experience at all and have at least completed a high school education, can access technical and like skills training and on-the-job opportunities.

“They will be considered as our JobStart beneficiary so our objective is to improve their skills and become productive employee in different work places in different industry,” she said.

In Davao City, most of their partner employers are wholesale and retail, hotel and restaurants, IT, business processing management, the agri-industry.