(Row 1, left to right) Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez; USAID Acting Mission Director to the Philippines, Pacific Islands, and Mongolia Sean Callahan; USAID Opportunity 2.0 Chief of Party Dr. Dave Hall; (Row 2, left to right) DTI Regional Operations Group Undersecretary Blesila Lantayona and USAID Philippines Office of Education Director Dr. Thomas LeBlanc during the MOU signing of a partnership between USAID’s Opportunity 2.0 and DTI.
Manila, May 19, 2021—The U.S. government, through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), signed a partnership with the Philippine Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to enhance entrepreneurship training programs for Filipino out-of-school youth.
Under the partnership, DTI’s Youth Entrepreneurship Program (DTI YEP) will integrate USAID’s Opportunity 2.0 Be Your Own Boss curriculum – an innovative approach that develops young people’s skills in business planning and management, as well as the mindset they need to become successful entrepreneurs. The partnership will also train youth in design thinking for entrepreneurship or adopting a business development approach that focuses on customer needs, and will incorporate coaching and mentorship from USAID’s private sector partners.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately affected Filipino out-of-school youth, the number of whom has significantly increased since last year,” said USAID Philippines Acting Mission Director Sean Callahan. “We have an urgent need to strengthen second-chance education and training systems that can help vulnerable out-of-school youth cope with the challenges created by the pandemic.”
The initiative will serve youth who go through the Department of Education (DepEd)’s Alternative Learning System and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority’s (TESDA) technical-vocational skills training. The program will be piloted in 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. DTI will also scale the initiative across the country to reach more aspiring youth entrepreneurs.
DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez stressed the vital role of the youth in the country’s business industry, stating that socioeconomic opportunities should be made available to all Filipino young people, especially during disruptions caused by the health crisis.
“The country has its strength in demographics, hence, the youth plays a critical role in supporting inclusive growth as the country transitions to an innovation-led economy. This alliance creates a significant opportunity for us to work together in encouraging a new generation of young Filipino entrepreneurs,” said Sec. Lopez.
USAID’s Opportunity 2.0 program is a five-year, Php1.9-billion ($37.5 million) project that works with DepEd, TESDA, other national agencies, local governments, and the private sector to support programs that provide relevant education, employability skills, and work experience to out-of-school youth.