RECENTLY, the local government of Jose Panganiban held a jobs fair to find employment for locals with necessary skills.
It was intended for certain companies wanting to hire from the town’s workforce.
The idea of the fair was to match available jobs with available skills.
Through this scheme, a number of Mambulaoans were hired for gainful employment, most of them in Metro Manila.
Another of this activity is expected towards the end of this year and already, many young Mambulaoans who are either high school graduates but are unable to continue with college education and those who dropped out from school are hoping to land a job through this.
The immediate question, however, is that between now and the holding of the next jobs fair, how many of the local jobseekers would have the needed skills to meet the demand of the jobs on offer?
Aware of the issue that many in the local workforce are not qualified for the much-needed technical skills here and overseas, the JP-LGU has pushed its skills training program by boosting the resources of the Gov Roy Padilla Sr Training Institute which is based in Larap.
Mayor Ricarte Padilla told MWBuzz last April that the launching of the institute was done through an act which he described as pikit-mata (a come-what-may exercise), in the sense that there was no allotted funding for this.
Luckily, there is an available property in Larap on which the building to house the institute was built. Juggling some idle little funds here and there, the LGU was able to raise the needed equipment, materials and instructors to go on with the program.
The skills training program which has been patterned from the program being used by TESDA (Technical Education and Skills Development Authority) had already graduated a number of Mambulaoan youths in welding, electrical, baking and dressmaking.
The second batch is now on board for the next set of six-month training programs.
Through a special arrangement, graduates at the institute undergo validation tests at TESDA center in Labo, CamNorte, and those who made it are awarded certificates of skill proficiency on the line of trade they took up.
Mayor Padilla said the certificate of skill proficiency is as good as the one given by TESDA training centers all over the country.
It would easily open the door for employment to anyone holding this.
The students at the institute are considered scholars of the LGU, since the local government is funding their training (from meager resources) and has even provided transportation to the students who are unable to pay for their daily tricycle or bus fares from their homes to the institute just to make sure they attended their classes daily.
Sources told MWBuzz that more and more applicants are taking chances at landing a training slot at the institute.
The increase in the number of students has given a new problem – availability of equipment and other training facilities to cater to every trainee.
This prompted Mayor Padilla to appeal for support, saying that this is now an opportunity for many professional Mambulaoans especially those who are based overseas to help expand the institute’s reach by helping out in acquiring more training equipment such as welding machines, electrical tools, sewing machines and baking equipment.
Depending on the available funds this year, the institute is also branching out into Information Technology training program.
With the needed equipment at its disposal, the institute would be able to accommodate more learners and at the same time ensure that those who wanted to learn a second skill could do so anytime.
This is also a timely reminder that the economic journey of the community begins at home.
A community with most of its citizens being jobless is a community that will be a burden to the local government -- like it or not.
On the other hand, a community which can stand on its own feet because its citizens are actively engaged in productive economic activities is a community that will boost its local government as its citizens can pay the right amount of taxes and fees.
It is also an incentive for everybody to ensure that law and order in the community is maintained.
But first, everything has to start with a job – a well-paying job for that matter.
And such job should be earned through the right skill, which every one of us could – by pooling resources together – easily provide to those in need.
This is Bayanihan on a higher level and professional Mambulaoans --either overseas or elsewhere in the Philippines – should be more than proud to be a part of.
The mantra is: “It’s time to give back to the community … once more”.
- Alfredo P Hernandez