ILOILO CITY, June 7, 2023 – The U.S. government, through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has successfully supported 42 out-of-school youth (OSY) in Iloilo City gain much-needed tech-voc training through the TESDA Online Program (TOP).
Youth graduates took up courses on Bread and Pastry Production, Electrical Installation and Maintenance, Front Officer Services, Housekeeping, Cookery, Computer System Servicing, and Food and Beverages Services. Through USAID’s Opportunity 2.0 program and the Youth Development Alliance established in the city, upskilled OSY will be connected to local businesses for jobs and to other organizations and offices for further education and entrepreneurship opportunities.
“I have a dream of having my own carinderia or small restaurant in our community. I want to cook which is why I took up cookery. TOP was my second opportunity to study again and reach my goal,” said Rhea Mae Dairo, a 22-year-old young mom who was one of the graduates.
“Thank you USAID, EDC, TESDA, and the Iloilo City government for all the support. Without you, there would be no TOP graduates here today.”
USAID was quick to collaborate with TESDA on restoring access to tech-voc training in safe and inclusive ways soon as the pandemic hit the Philippines in 2020. Modules were enhanced for distance learning, TESDA trainers were trained on using new teaching methods, and the OSY were lent tablets to access TOP modules. Community-based facilitators were also engaged to help the youth along the process, following local health and safety protocols.
“Education empowers individuals to secure better opportunities leading to improved economic prospects for themselves and their families. I am immensely grateful to USAID for backing this initiative in forwarding a more inclusive education through its Opportunity 2.0 program,” said Mayor Jerry Treñas in his congratulatory message for the youth.
“I also acknowledge the members of the Youth Development Alliance who tirelessly work with TESDA in empowering the youth to become agents of change and development.”
As a result, upskilling opportunities for vulnerable youth who have been adversely affected by pandemic restrictions have been restored, giving them and their families a chance to also overcome economic difficulties in a post-COVID-19 world of work and business.
To date, among those assessed by TESDA, 637 OSYs have been issued with National Certificates or Certificates of Competencies, registering a 92 percent certification rate on par with TESDA’s national average. As of May 2023, a total of 431 OSY have already successfully found new jobs, started their own business, or pursued further education.
“We know that through you, more young Filipinos will be inspired to push hard, to upskill, and to be successful. The U.S. Government through USAID remains committed to working with all of you in our shared goal of equipping Filipino youth with the tools and opportunities they need so that they can have a better tomorrow,” said USAID Philippines Senior Education Advisor Mir Tillah in a message of support.
USAID, through its Opportunity 2.0 program, is now in the process of turning over its models and approaches in blended TVET education to TESDA, local training institutions, and city alliances for sustainability and potential expansion.#