LAOAG CITY – The Ilocos Norte government is partnering with the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) for the implementation of the JobStart Philippines program to boost the employability of out-of-school youth in the province.

DOLE's JobStart Philippines aims to provide life skills training with one-on-one coaching, technical training, and internship for unemployed out-of-school youth aged 18 to 24 years old.

The program implementation is in collaboration with the local government units here, the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, the Department of Education, the Commission on Higher Education, and other stakeholders.

Anne Marie Lizette B. Atuan, manager of the Public Employment Service Office, said on Tuesday they are currently in close coordination with the concerned government agencies to facilitate the screening and registration of would-be beneficiaries.

“This initiative is designed to empower the youth by providing them with proper training in the actual workforce,” she said in an interview.

To qualify for the program, a JobStart trainee must be a Filipino citizen; 18 to 24 years old, have reached at least high school level; and not in education, employment, or training at the time of the registration.

Qualified applicants shall receive an allowance for the duration of life skills training and technical skills training and shall undertake an internship with establishments for a maximum of three months with a stipend not less than 75 percent of the prevailing minimum wage in the locality.

Based on the 2022 latest survey, the Philippine Statistics Authority said the unemployment rate in the Ilocos region is at 5.1 percent equivalent to 124,000 individuals, which is lower than the 137,000 unemployed in the same period of 2021.

Most of the unemployed were from the youth sector who wish to work but lack a sustainable platform to increase their employability.

In Ilocos Norte, employers of construction firms, business process outsourcing, and other emerging establishments have already expressed support to hire younger workers. (PNA)