To help empower the Mindanaoan youth, Citi Foundation and the Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP) partnered together in implementing the Young Mindanao Professionals (YMP) Internship Program
The pandemic has posed many challenges to the economy and while the country has remained resilient and is poised to make a recovery this year, the lack of employment opportunities for the marginalized sector remains a problem. According to the Philippine Statistics Authority, around three million Filipinos are jobless and the quality of available jobs continues to worsen. Among those greatly affected by the limited employment opportunities are the youth, mainly due to job skills mismatch.
This problem is particularly striking in conflict-affected areas like the Bangsamoro region where the youth face not only unemployment but also vulnerability to violence, conflict, and the cycle of poverty.
To help empower the Mindanaoan youth, Citi Foundation and the Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP) partnered together in implementing the Young Mindanao Professionals (YMP) Internship Program, which seeks to address the gaps in employment and productivity, and push for inclusive workforce development for the Filipino youth in the south.
Just recently, the YMP Internship Program launched a Diversity and Inclusion Committee, composed of advocates and community leaders committed to pushing Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the workplace through policy change.
“Our strong commitment to this program stems from our mission to contribute towards growth and economic progress. YMP clearly aligns with this as it equips young people, particularly those from underserved communities, with the skills and the network to enable them to find gainful employment, contribute to the economy, and most importantly, motivate them and help them achieve their aspirations,” said Citi Philippines CEO Aftab Ahmed.
Both Citi Philippines and Citi Foundation support initiatives to foster a more diverse, equitable and inclusive workplace that will enable progress in the communities they serve.
EMPOWER THE YOUTH
The YMP Internship Program was first implemented in January 2021, catering to young Mindanaoans and Muslims who are graduates of the Mindanao State University in Marawi City. It provides the youth access to training, reskilling and upskilling; supports them through employment planning and job search assistance; mobilizes employment programs for the youth; and promotes a more inclusive workplace through a committee composed of private sector champions.
The YMP Internship Program has engaged 325 young Muslim professionals who graduated from MSU, some of whom have been displaced from work due to the pandemic. Over300 young Muslims have been capacitated on personal and career development, financial education, socio- emotional skills, workplace inclusion and peace advocacy,” said PBSP Director for Operations Kristine J. Rivadelo.
Through this program, around 18 companies have already been able provide the youth with internship and employment opportunities. At present, forty-five beneficiaries are already employed while the rest are in various stages of re-skilling interventions, internship, and employment facilitation.
PROMOTE AN INCLUSIVE WORKPLACE
The Diversity and Inclusion Committee will serve as the advisory committee of host companies, applying a peer-to-peer approach where companies can share best practices and share their first-hand experience in fostering an inclusive culture in the workplace. The committee will also open venues for dialogue and sensitivity sessions about diversity, rights of employees and gender equality. They will also help participating companies review policies which can help incorporate cultural diversity within organizations.
According to committee head and Chair of PBSP’s Mindanao Regional Committee Miguel Dominguez, “The Young Mindanao Professionals Internship Program and the Bangsamoro have a common clamor – to achieve diversity and inclusion, and from this unity and peace will flourish. This YMP is a crucial first step to make our organizations and operations responsive to different representations. We should all do our part to provide access to resources and investments to level the playing field both in the workplace and at the community level; and provide equal employment opportunities, educational scholarships and community development programs.”
Companies and organizations who would like to be part of this initiative may support the program by hosting a YMP internship for at least three months and will include covering the allowance of participants to cover their meal and transportation expense; provide employment opportunities; and participate in the high level project steering committee to promote inclusivity in the workplace through facilitated virtual workshops.
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