Manila, 10 September 2022 (TDI): The USAID held a Private Sector Summit on Friday to highlight opportunities for the Filipino Out-of-School Youth (OSY). Over 150 local partners attended the Summit by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

The purpose of the Summit was to advance employment, education, and entrepreneurship opportunities for Filipino out-of-school youth (OSY). This was done in consideration of OSY as the new driver of economic recovery and inclusive growth.

The theme of the Summit was “One in Motion: Shaping a Shared Future with the New Generation of Workers and Entrepreneurs.”

Accordingly, this Private Sector Summit is the first nationwide face-to-face gathering of representatives from businesses, government, and civil society. The participants came together to craft policy proposals to support OSY and sustain the gains achieved in recent years.

The Private Sector Summit

During the Summit, authorities introduced upskilled OSY as the “new generation of workers and entrepreneurs”. They also emphasized that the upskilled OSY possess the digital skills and entrepreneurial spirit to help businesses meet the demands of the Philippine economy.

During the Summit, participants underscored the need for multi-sectoral collaboration through the Youth Development Alliance (YDA). YDA is a mechanism created by the Opportunity 2.0 program for local stakeholders to coordinate programs, maximize resources, and drive policies that will benefit OSY.

Addressing the Summit, the USAID Philippines Acting Deputy Mission Director Jennifer Crow highlighted the importance of upskilling OSY. She said that arming the untapped workforce potential with in-demand work and entrepreneurial skills will both boost economic recovery. Moreover, the Director also emphasized that it will contribute to achieving more resilient and inclusive growth in the country.

Furthermore, Director Crow emphasized that as future employers and engines of economic activity, the private sector is a vital partner in this effort.

Opportunity 2.0 and Out of School Youth (OSY)

Opportunity 2.0 is a program under USAID that supports systems in the Philippines to provide second-chance education to 180,000 OSY. It has worked in 15 cities to lead OSY to their successful employment and livelihoods.

Since its launch in 2019, Opportunity 2.0 has engaged over 850 private sector partners nationwide, comprising 23 business groups and organizations, 130 large companies, and 640 micro, small and medium enterprises.  The alliances with sectors and Opportunity 2.0 is chaired by the city mayor. These alliances are composed of government line agencies, local business associations, education and training institutions, and youth organizations that drive youth-focused programs and policymaking.

The Education Development Center and many other partners also work with USAID within the framework of Opportunity 2.0. They try to introduce skills training around work-readiness and entrepreneurship.

Moreover, it helps in building the capacity of partners to provide foundational skills to prepare youth for work and entrepreneurship. It also engages the private sector through work-based learning and works immersion programs

Opportunity 2.0 also expands the network of Youth Development Alliances to strengthen connections among industry, education programs, government, and youth. This helps in growing productive alliances with industry and higher education institutions.

US-Philippines Relations

U.S.-Philippine relations are based on strong historical and cultural linkages and shared democratic values and interests. Moreover, both countries cooperate on a number of regional and global issues.

Furthermore, more than four million Filipino-Americans live in the United States, and almost 300,000 U.S. citizens reside in the Philippines. Additionally, the US is among the top three trading partners of the Philippines while the Philippines is the United States 31st-largest goods trading partner.

Also Read: US and Philippines discuss bilateral relations

Trade exchange between both countries totaled $30.2 billion in 2021. The United States is also one of the largest foreign investors in the Philippines. USAID has worked with the Philippine government and local organizations to support the Philippines since 1961.

Consequently, the Philippines is a treaty ally and an important security partner of the US.