Gov’t unveils plans for corporate job training

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Gov’t unveils plans for corporate job training

The government will spend more than 40 billion won ($34 million) to encourage corporations to train and hire young job seekers, following President Park Geun-hye’s ambitious pledge to create at least 200,000 jobs over the next few years.

Pushed by the government, Korea’s leading conglomerates will play a key role in the plan, offering job training programs and creating work opportunities for young people.

A group of government ministries and organizations released a joint press release on Tuesday detailing a plan for how to support private corporations to hire - or at least train - young and unemployed citizens, which are numerous and represent a serious problem for Korea.

Conglomerates will be asked to offer their own training programs to young job seekers and hire them after the program finishes.

If they can’t employ them, they are asked to introduce them to small or medium-sized companies (SMEs) partnered with the conglomerates.

Although the plan is a win-win for jobless youth and SMEs - which struggle to find young and talented workers in the country, as they are mostly applying for positions at conglomerates - there is actually little that the conglomerates gain from the initiative.

The government will spend about 41.8 billion won on the project, including offering a package of subsidies for the conglomerates in return for their cooperation, which includes part of the cost of the training program, a monthly payment of 500,000 won to 600,000 won per intern they hire and 3.9 million won in a lump sum if the corporation hires the intern as a full-time employee after the program.

Youths participating in the programs will receive a monthly allowance of 200,000 won, as well as up to 3 million won in a lump sum if he or she is ultimately hired as a full-time employee.

It might look like a lot for the corporations, but there are no ongoing subsidies after an intern is hired, and the government’s initiative does not cover the full cost of the training programs.

“We are aware that there is nothing for conglomerates to win in this project,” said an official from the Ministry of Employment and Labor by phone.

“It is almost a volunteer job for conglomerates. If this wasn’t an extraordinary situation, they wouldn’t be willing to do that.”

The government hopes the project will create at least 10,000 new jobs for youth annually starting next year.

“So far, a total of 12 conglomerates volunteered to participate in the project,” the official said.

“Although they didn’t specify how many applicants they would accept, Samsung, SK, Korea Electric Power Corporation and Hyundai Motor Group all said they would all educate 5,000 youth in total next year. Particularly, Samsung says it will launch a six month-long program.”


BY KIM HEE-JIN [kim.heejin@joongang.co.kr]

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