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[Editorial] Customized Job Creation Program

Posted January. 19, 2010 08:33,   


A government-led program for fostering customized personnel for corporations is facing problems despite its goal of easing labor shortages at small- and mid-size companies and reducing youth unemployment. According to a survey by the Small and Medium Business Administration, 47 percent of high school graduates hired by smaller companies said they liked their employers, nearly twice as high as the 24 percent who regretted their decisions. Forty-three percent, however, said they would recommend the program to younger students, lower than the 57 percent who said the opposite. Only 28 percent said they will stay at their jobs.

Under the job program, small- and mid-size companies sign contracts with vocational high schools or junior colleges. The schools develop vocational education specifically designed for those companies enabling students who completed a year of school before graduation to get jobs at the companies. Participating corporations pay the training expenses and allowances to cover student tuition, and these costs are later reimbursed by the Labor Ministry’s employment insurance fund. The number of companies, students and those hired is on a steady rise. Last year, some 2,000 students from 66 vocational high schools and 14 community colleges participated in the program.

Despite the promising results, there is room for improvement. Quite a few students express disappointment over their jobs and prepare to enter university. Businesses that participated in the program said the results have been unsatisfactory. To enhance the program’s efficiency, schools should strengthen their vocational training curricula, while companies should present a vision for new employees so that they can feel the joy and benefits of working as early as possible. Also important is the teaching of job courtesy, communication skills and technical aspects to help newcomers adapt to their environments as quickly as possible.

The government should consider raising student participation in the program and provide post-placement service. One reason young people are frustrated over their jobs is Korean society’s deep-rooted preference for university graduates. In addition to changes in the social perception of educational background, the government should consider linking the job program to an e-learning system or online university programs. Young jobseekers can start their careers at smaller companies and begin getting work experience instead of being unemployed after graduation.

Though the job market is extremely tight, many healthy small- and medium-size companies are seeking to hire competent workers. If the government, schools and companies cooperate to improve the job program, they can create more customized jobs.