THE United States has launched a five-year tie-up with Unilab Foundation to aid local workers in meeting the evolving needs of the high-tech manufacturing sector.
Formalized last month, the P622-million ($10.6 million) linkage was made possible through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
The Advanced Manufacturing Workforce Development Alliance (AMDev) aims to enhance the skills and resilience of the Philippine work force, enabling laborers to adapt to changes resulting from the adoption of automation, robotics and artificial intelligence in manufacturing.
Through AMDev, USAID and Unilab Foundation will offer apprenticeships, immersion programs and knowledge sharing to students and professors from a network of colleges and universities around manufacturing sites in the country. The project will also push for the academic recognition of its training programs to enable participants to pursue further education.
“AMDev will improve young people’s ability to gain meaningful employment and contribute to building a peaceful, inclusive, and prosperous future for all Filipinos,” Ambassador MaryKay Carlson said at the launch ceremony inside the Unilab Pharma Campus in Biñan, Laguna. “We hope that this private sector collaboration will allow the Philippines to advance to ‘high middle-income’ economic status, and strengthen its ability to increase sustainable, inclusive, and transparent economic growth in the broader Indo-Pacific economic community.”
“Unilab Foundation envisions to make an impact on the manufacturing sector by introducing industry-led programs that will sharpen manufacturing competencies and set higher standards of training,” UnitedHealth Group president-CEO, Unilab Inc. chairman of the board and Unilab Foundation Inc. president-vice chairman Clinton Andrew Campos Hess said. “We believe that meaningful partnerships are the key to affecting positive change in society.”
Trade Secretary Alfredo Pascual, Science and Technology Secretary Renato Solidum Jr. and Acting Mission Director Rebekah Eubanks of USAID Phils. were also at the launch.
Under the partnership, the US government will contribute P311 million ($5.3 million) in development assistance, while the other half of the project cost will be funded by private-sector partners that include Unilab Foundation, Amherst Laboratories, Belmont Softgel Pharma, Fastech Advanced Assembly, Western Digital Phils., Makati Business Club, and the Investment and Capital Corporation of the Philippines Group Foundation.
The US government, through USAID, has invested more than P5.8 billion ($105.6 million) in higher education and work force development in the Philippines, helping build research capacity and spark innovation in local universities, as well as provide opportunities for out-of-school youth.