U.S. summit empowers out-of-school youth as new workforce amid pandemic

USAID Acting Deputy Mission Director Jeff Goebel with the participants of Opportunity 2.0’s virtual Private Sector Summit on September 27.

On September 27, the U.S. government led a virtual private sector summit that gathered over 300 industry leaders to tackle how Filipino youth can help businesses thrive amid the COVID-19 pandemic.  The event is part of the United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID) five-year, Php1.9-billion Opportunity 2.0 project designed to strengthen programs and mechanisms that work to improve the education, employment, and livelihood outcomes for Filipino out-of-school youth.

Industry associations, chambers of commerce, business owners, and managers from 12 cities across the Philippines took part in the online event.  These included Angeles City, Valenzuela City, Quezon City, Legazpi City, Cebu City, Tagbilaran City, Davao City, General Santos City, Cotabato City, Cagayan De Oro City, Isabela City, and Zamboanga City.  With the theme “Investing in the Youth: Opening Doors for the New Workforce,” the summit underscored the crucial role of businesses in youth and workforce development at both the local and national levels.

“Public-private collaboration is key to developing and empowering out-of-school youth.  They are an untapped resource that can propel industries forward,” said USAID Philippines Acting Deputy Mission Director Jeff Goebel.

The summit discussions centered on concrete steps for multi-sectoral collaboration, including youth training and mentorship, work immersion and hiring, and aligning second-chance education and technical and vocational education and training with industry needs.

The program is implemented by U.S.-based Education Development Center together with the Department of Education ALS, the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, Accenture, Philippine Business for Education, Catholic Relief Services, Voluntary Services Overseas, and SEAMEO INNOTECH.