In place of subsidy program, Seoul hires youth

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In place of subsidy program, Seoul hires youth

With its monthly cash allowance program for unemployed or underemployed young adults in the city frozen by the central government, the Seoul city government offered jobs to hundreds of young adults instead, while also offering services like resume checkups and free language courses.

“Since the 500,000 won ($445) monthly cash allowance program has been shut down by the Ministry of Health and Welfare,” said Jun Hyo-kwan, director-general of the city’s Seoul Innovation Bureau, “the Seoul Metropolitan Government hereby announces its follow-up measure to hire young adults in the city at the city government and its affiliated organizations.”

The city government expects to hire some 300 to 500 young adults, but said it is open to hiring more.

“The program is open not only to recipients of the youth subsidy program, but all young adults in Seoul struggling to find a job,” said Yang Ho-kyung, a program director of the city’s Youth Policy Division. “They will be connected to an existing welfare program called ‘Youth New Deal,’ where they will be hired from two to 15 months and earn some 1.5 million won per month.”

The Youth New Deal has, since 2013, been temporarily hiring Seoul residents aged between 18 and 39 at the city government and its affiliated organizations. The annual program provided temporary jobs to some 1,600 young adults from 2013 to 2015.

More than 1,000 young adults are currently employed at the Seoul city government and its affiliated organizations, working in 65 different capacities ranging from farmers market coordinator, traditional market manager or art museum exhibitor to energy engineer, subway station manager or children’s center caretaker.

Among applicants, those from low-income families or longer-term unemployment will be given priority, the city government said. Seoul will be announcing the application and selection procedure within September.

Additionally, the city government will provide some 1,000 young adults with consulting services for various career tracks, resume and interview preparation assistance and opportunities to meet with professionals currently working in a sector of their choice.

Free dress attire for interviews will also be provided to some 1,500 young adults, via a suit-lending corporation, The Open Closet.

“Some 300 young adults interested in starting their own businesses should also apply to the city’s mentoring and lecture program on start-ups,” Jun said, “which will begin from September and last into December, and provide opportunities to meet with CEOs of successful start-ups.”

The Seoul city government added that there are also 760 spaces throughout the city open to young adults looking for spaces to study or meet and discuss ideas. These spaces can be reserved at yeyak.seoul.go.kr Also, free online language courses for English, Japanese and Chinese are available at sll.seoul.go.kr (Korean).

“We don’t know when the Supreme Court will make its decision on the case,” Yang said in regard to the legal battle between the Welfare Ministry and the city government. The city government in August filed a lawsuit to the Supreme Court to reverse the Welfare Ministry’s decision, and an injunction to suspend the program’s termination. “Meanwhile, the city government is doing all it can, and will announce a detailed plan for its youth assistance program by October.”

BY ESTHER CHUNG [chung.juhee@joongang.co.kr]

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