The pandemic may have caused the deferment of the JobStart Philippines program implementation in 2020 with the physical and health restrictions it necessitated, but the Department grabbed the opportunity to digitize the program and address the youth employment demands in the new normal.

DOLE, through the JobStart Philippines program manager Bureau of Local Employment, made significant and strategic adjustments to the program to better cater to youth beneficiaries amidst the pandemic. The online Life Skills Training (LST) modules will be rolled out for the first time this year.

The online platform includes improvements such as new modules on digital literacy, work productivity, and mental health, among others. It was developed to be interactive and mobile-friendly, to make the training experience more beneficial and accessible to both trainees and program stakeholders.

For the Fiscal Year 2021 implementation, the DOLE’s youth employability enhancement program has an allocated budget of Php 41,491,000.00 with a target of 2,900 youth beneficiaries. Considering the adjustments made to the program, additional incentives are to be given to youth beneficiaries, such as internet allowance to access the online LST modules, communication allowance during technical training, increased LST and technical training stipend of PHP 300.00 per beneficiary per day, and the provision of swab testing.

Three (3) new implementing areas, namely the Municipality of Catarman (Region VIII), Metro Naga (Region V), and the City of Manila (NCR), have been added to this year’s roster; bringing the total to 30 Public Employment Service Offices (PESOs) rolling out JobStart in 2021.

The 2021 program implementation will officially commence after the orientation and planning activity for program implementers scheduled this March.