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USAID study shows upskilling Out-of-School Youth will help PH economy thrive amid COVID-19 crisis

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MANILA, Phils. — TODAY, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) released a study showing the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on Filipino out-of-school youth. 

USAID Philippines Acting Mission Director Sean Callahan joined Department of Education (DepEd) Secretary Leonor Briones, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) Secretary Isidro Lapeña, Assistant Secretary for Alternative Learning System (ALS) G.H. Ambat, and other government officials at a virtual launch of the report. 

The report, titled “The Impact of COVID-19 on Opportunities for Out-of-School Youth in the Philippines,” showed that the number of out-of-school youth in the country rose in the first four months of 2020 from 16.9 percent to 25.2 percent. 

While the study found the pandemic disproportionately impacted education, employment, and livelihood opportunities for out-of-school youth, it identified opportunities to improve the situation of youth and their families through collaboration among government, nongovernment organizations, businesses, and academia. 

USAID supports DepEd and TESDA by integrating new work readiness content into the curriculum for out-of-school youth.  Through its Opportunity 2.0 program, USAID also helps Philippine ALS and technical-vocational education pivot to distance learning to be more accessible to out-of-school youth, and establish Youth Development Alliances to help stakeholders collaborate toward common youth development and local economy goals. 

“As we celebrate the 75th year of diplomatic relations between our two countries and the 60th anniversary of USAID in the Philippines, the U.S. government remains committed to working with partners to improve the education and employment outcomes for young Filipinos, especially those who are out of school,” said Callahan. 

Also included in the report is how the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the importance of environment-friendly and digital skills, which will become even more important as industries move to renewable energy sources and digital operations.  Meanwhile, among local employers, there remains a high demand for “soft skills”—including communication, positive values, resilience, emotional intelligence, and willingness to learn. |

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