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16 April 2009

Subic retooling scheme: Scholarship open to 1,000 displaced workers

The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) has launched a retooling program to help out displaced workers in the Subic Bay Freeport whose companies were affected by the global financial slowdown.

SBMA Administrator Armand Arreza said that some 1,000 workers affected by the recession will be able to avail of full scholarship grants through the Pangulong Gloria Scholarship program, which is being administered by the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA).

To avail of the scholarship grant, displaced Freeport workers should secure a recommendation from the SBMA Labor Department which shall then be presented for verification at the provincial offices of TESDA or the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).

“Any Freeport worker who lost his or her job, because either the company was forced to reduce its workforce or had to close shop because of the economic crisis, can avail of the grant and enroll in any participating school,” Arreza said.

He added that the grantees are also qualified to receive allowances, aside from the opportunity to enroll in any of the available livelihood and skills-training seminars that suit their interests.

The allowance, Arreza said, start at P60 per day, but if the scholar obtained a recommendation from the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), he or she will receive and additional P91, making the allowance P151 a day.

Arreza clarified that not a single centavo will be collected by the school from the scholar because TESDA, through its Pangulong Gloria Scholarship Fund, will directly pay the school for the tuition or training fees, training allowance and the assessment fees of the scholars.

Meanwhile, SBMA labor department manager Severo Pastor Jr. said that among the courses that Subic applicants may choose from are: computer hardware servicing, food and beverage service, building wiring installation, baking and pastry production, housekeeping, healthcare services and bookkeeping.

These course offerings, Pastor explained, are designed to provide displaced workers with other skills that are in demand at the Subic Freeport or abroad, thereby helping the workers “retool” themselves for better competition.

“Each course may last for from 45 to 120 days and are being offered in TESDA-accredited schools in the Subic Freeport, Olongapo City and Zambales,” Pastor said.

The SBMA labor official also announced that a total of 120 former workers will be graduating this month after taking housekeeping courses at Mondriaan Aura College in the Freeport and trainings in baking at the Central Luzon College of Science and Technology in Olongapo.

The graduates will receive a training certificate from the school, as well as a certification from TESDA that gives the bearer preference when applying for jobs abroad.

“The skills that these displaced workers learned from the training will be their key in applying for a new job, or in putting up a business of their own,” Pastor also said. (SBMA Corporate Communications)

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