Gov’t plots job opportunities for displaced OFWs

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and its attached agency, and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), now have programs for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who lost their gainful jobs due to the pandemic.

In a recent joint virtual presser, DTI and TESDA executives said OFWs satnd to benefit from the government’s National Employment Recovery Strategy (NERS) program.

One of the strategies under NERS is the “reskilling and upskilling” of local talents, which TESDA could provide. “In TESDA, OFWs are among the priority clients,” said TESDA deputy director general Lina Sarmiento.

To reach out to more OFWs, Sarmiento said TESDA has established OFW Desks in various government offices nationwide, while its TESDA app has a special button for enrollment and assessment of OFWs.

Moreover, she added, “our OFWs have their own expertise, talents and experiences they gained abroad, and that’s a big help for TESDA because we invite some of them to join our teaching and training staff.”

For instance, she explained, TESDA now has a training program for scaffolding works inspection which jobs are in demand abroad but the country lacks a training program for such skill. OFWs who are skillful in it are now part of our trainors, she added.

Sarmiento said TESDA has also partnered with an OFW who has expertise in boat making to develop a training program for it. “We don’t only give training opportunities; we also invite them to join us and provide knowledge to our countrymen,” she said.

Meanwhile, DTI Bureau of Small and Medium Enterprise Development director Jerry Clavesillas said they target to boost their livelihood program to help businesses to remain afloat and recover, as well as avoid job shedding amid the pandemic.

“In the case of DTI, our primary concern is to recover business because we all know that enterprises are the primary source of employment,” Clavesillas said, adding that OFWs could tap DTI for entrepreneurship training.

He also said DTI’s financing arm, the Small Business Corp., likewise provides loans for displaced OFWs who would like to start their business here.

For his part, Department of Labor and Employment Assistant Secretary Dominique Rubia-Tutay said they  encourage displaced OFWs to look into employment opportunities provided by the government.

The NERS task force will be holding an online job fair on May 1, Labor Day. Tutay said the government does not take away Filipinos’ rights to explore employment abroad since border restrictions in other countries prevent OFWs from going back to their jobs.