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May 06, 2023

The Benguet State University PATHWAY team held the Phase 1 of the “Drawing PATHWAYs to Employability and Entrepreneurship through University-Enterprise Cooperation” training online on April 24 and 25, 2023. A total of 47 participants from Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) in the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) joined in to represent their schools which includes Abra State Institute of Science and Technology (ASSIST), Benguet State University (BSU), Cordillera Career Development College (CCDC), Ifugao State University (IFSU), King’s College of the Philippines (KCP), and Mountain Province State Polytechnic College (MPSPC).

Resource persons of the two-day training, which focused on employability, were: Daryll B. Ponard and Froilan R. Flores of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE-CAR) who discussed a labor market analysis of CAR and the services of the agency related to employment; Ronald  Y. Rodriguez of the Ateneo de Manila University and Ramon C. Fiangaan Jr. who talked about structure and services of employment centers in private and state HEIs; and Cristina Beans of the University of Alicante in Spain who shared Spanish models of employment centers. 

An open forum followed each discussion by the resource speakers and two workshops were facilitated to further engage the participants and enrich their learnings. The workshops required the participants to identify and evaluate their universities’ student services on career guidance and employment. 

The participants found common meeting grounds with the resource speakers from DOLE-CAR. In the post-evaluation, the participants indicated an improved level of awareness to government programs that support employability of HEI graduates. The resource speakers, on the other hand, encouraged the participants to communicate with their office and consider DOLE’s Labour Market Information when crafting their curricula. 

Likewise, with the sharing of practices in career and employment centers by the speakers, the participants indicated an increased awareness of the significance of employment or career centers in HEIs. During one of the open forums, a participant shared that she could use the insights she gained from the training to propose the establishment of an employment/career center in the university she works at. 

The activity was capped by a brainstorming session with the three of the resource speakers. Based on the consolidated workshop results, Ronald Rodriguez of AdMU appreciated the participants' initiative to conduct tracer studies and encouraged them to coordinate with faculty members to come up with targeted questions. He added that this will help in gathering data that can be submitted to their schools’ administration that may be used as a basis for curriculum modifications or changes. 

Daryll Ponard of DOLE-CAR commended the participants for their best efforts in coming up with their workshop outputs. He described it as the highest level of their educational advocacy because they are going beyond their role as an educator by still looking after the welfare of the students even after they graduate. He encouraged the participants to also develop job-searching skills of students and provide career coaching services.

Phase II of the training series, which will focus on entrepreneurship, will be held on May 25-26, 2023. The training is part of the Promoting the employAbility and enTrepreneurship of Higher education graduates through innovative WAYs in the Philippines (PATHWAY) project where BSU is a part of along with AdMU, Lyceum of the Philippines, St. Paul University Philippines, Polytechnic University of the Philippines, European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, Commission on Higher Education, University of Alicante in Spain and University Montpellier in France. The project is co-funded by the European Union.