Iloilo, PBeD launch JobsNext for youth upskilling

Governor Arthur Defensor Jr. and PBeD Executive Director Justine Raagas sign the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to launch the JobsNext program, aimed at enhancing training and upskilling initiatives for the youth, on Monday, May 27.

By Mariela Angella Oladive

In a significant move to enhance the skills and employment prospects of the youth in Iloilo, the Iloilo Provincial Government has partnered with the Philippine Business for Education (PBeD) to implement the innovative JobsNext program.

The initiative was formalized through the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) by Governor Arthur Defensor Jr. and PBeD Executive Director Justine Raagas on Monday, May 27.

JobsNext is designed as a multi-stakeholder endeavor aimed at addressing the growing need for a skilled workforce by providing targeted training and upskilling opportunities for young people in the province.

The program will focus on closing the skills gap among youth aged 18-24 in critical areas such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, cybersecurity, and green skills.

The collaboration entails pooling resources, sharing data, coordinating projects, and engaging local companies and educational institutions. It will also promote activities and formulate policies geared toward expanding youth skills training initiatives across the province.

Under JobsNext, identified beneficiaries will receive free training in foundational skills as well as specialized learning tracks.

The program extends its inclusivity by offering specialized programs tailored to cater to the needs of persons with disabilities (PWDs), ensuring equitable access to skill enhancement opportunities.

The implementation will be overseen by the Provincial Public Employment Service Office (PESO).

Director Raagas emphasized the significance of this partnership, highlighting its potential to incentivize local government units to invest more substantially in education-related initiatives.

“We want to get local governments to invest in education,” he said.

Governor Defensor echoed Raagas, underlining the province’s commitment to aligning tertiary education with the evolving needs of industries, particularly emphasizing the burgeoning demand in the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) sector.

Present during the signing ceremony were Board Member Jason Gonzales, Sangguniang Kabataan Federation President Esara Javier, Provincial Administrator Raul Banias, and representatives from academia and industry.

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