NOLITC brings social change
Last Updated on Thursday, 2 March 2017 01:25 Written by NOLITC Administrator Thursday, 2 March 2017 01:23
NEGROS OCCIDENTAL, Feb. 11 (PIA6) – – Irish Divinagracia, a single mom of two, works as a waitress at a Karaoke Bar at night, a “carinderia” or small eatery during day time, an almost 24-hour cycle operation.
Irish, after attending to customers at night, wakes up at 4:00AM to cook for meals to be sold in the karaoke bar-turned-carinderia. This is the daily grind for Irish, how her “wasted” life according to her revolved around in a circle which seemed unbreakable.
Irish was toughened by time and circumstance. She lost her mother early, got pregnant soon after, hopped from one relative to another trying to do high school in Manila, Roxas City then La Carlota. She never got the chance to finish High School.
It seemed that her life was a formula for failure. Irish came back home to Negros still shattered from having a broken family, wasted life and lack of parental guidance.
“I forgot about my son. I left him with my brothers. I don’t go home. I’m everywhere but nowhere really. They all wonder where I have been and where I was,” Irish shared.
But it is in the same little eatery where she spent most of her time, that she got to hear about the Alternative Learning System (ALS). She realized later that this government intervention would slowly break into her circle of routines and release her from the shackles of sure failure.
In 2015, Irish graduated from ALS in San Enrique and her teacher accompanied her to the Negros Occidental Language Institute and Technology Center or NOLITC to enroll.
Negros Occidental Language Institute and Technology Center or NOLITC is the first and only initiative by a local government unit in the Visayas by far that focuses on talent and human resource development. This is run by the provincial government with the assistance from Technological Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) and lately with the recently created Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT).
Created through a Sangguniang Panlalawigan Ordinance No. 001 series of 2008, NOLITC has grown since and has graduated 3,280 graduates the likes of Irish since it began training for work scholarship in 2012 after TESDA granted it the authority to train and offer courses.
Dr. Ma. Cristina B. Orbecido, School Administrator of the NOLITC said the center differs from among other vocational and information technology schools on the quality of training students get.
Record shows there is 81 percent absorption of graduates of its scholarship program at Business Process Outsourcing while 93 percent of its vocational trade courses graduates gained employment after graduation.
Irish is one of those who landed in a Business processing outsourcing job after graduation but it did not come as easy as the others.
While training at NOLITC, Irish still worked at the KTV Bar-cum-carinderia. She still wakes up at 4am to cook then at 7am she prepares for classes at NOLITC. With the travel time from San Enrique town, which is more than an hour’s ride, she was always late for the 8am class. She approached the instructor if she could come at 9am and catch up with what she missed after that.
That chance given to her inspired her to strive so she can find work after ALS rather than proceed to college considering her obligations to her sons.
“I need to continue to work because the P50 I earn for cooking is what I use as transport money in going to Bacolod City to attend classes at NOLITC. It was not an easy start for me. I was turned down for the Contact Care Service (CCS) course because the instructor said I need to go through with ELP and I don’t know what ELP means or what it stands for,” Irish shared.
Irish remembers attending the ELP (English Language Proficiency) class without any idea what it is and what it stands for, only to find out it is for English Language Proficiency because she needed to work on her English. There she met her Trainer Ms. Jo, whom she looked up to and who gave her the parental guidance she needed while at NOLITC.
“Before when people look at me, I give them the “I don’t care look” because I thought at first they find me strange since I have tattoos all over my body and with the way I dress. I don’t mingle because I feel they are judging me. Aside from teaching me English and skills for CCS, it is only here where I have learned self-confidence, self-respect and how to trust others,” Irish said.
According to Dr. Orbecido, the money that the province invests as a social investor, giving scholarships to Out-of-School Youths and the unemployed generates revenues which goes back to the general fund.
“The impact can be seen in the change in lifestyle of the beneficiaries and even in the status of the students. The moment they gain employment, they have the capacity to spend money and that is economic revenue for the province. When this happens, we now have the return on investment (ROI) to the province through the taxes paid by these students when they are already employed. If we calculate all these, the ROI is bigger and better than the initial amount spent on scholarships,” Orbecido said.
NOLITC runs on a P12-million budget annually based on the 2016 allocation from a portion of the Gender and Development fund of the province.
“We allocate the money for the Negros First Training for Work Scholarship Program, an institutionalized scholarship program which started in 2013 so that at least whenever we have the GAD fund, we allocate it to empower sectors particularly women. A greater percentage of our beneficiaries are women,” Orbedido added.
This model is a manifestation on how to maximize the resources of the government to help and reach out to those who need it. It looks at the bigger picture and the future of employing the graduates. Eventually it will change the landscape of the province with the coming in of investors, especially in the BPO sector.
NOLITC goes to the different towns and cities up to the barangay level through its SMARTER Barangay campaign.
This smarter barangay program is a campaign where the barangays and its officials are engaged through orientation and recruitment of possible candidates or scholars for the courses.
“They embraced this program when they saw the impact once their OSY and unemployed graduated from NOLITC and got hired. They lost their potential “pasaways” or trouble–makers in the community,” Orbecido explained.
Irish could be one of those trouble-makers, could be another headache for the community and the government. However, thanks to the interventions of ALS to NOLITC, it broke the vicious cycle.
“Every time I talk about NOLITC, I get really emotional, really”, Iris said and tears just flowed from her eyes. Without NOLITC, I don’t know where I would be now she told PIA. At first, she hesitated in granting PIA an interview because she did not want to get emotional again.
“Actually, NOLITC completes my family. I was able to get my other son and raised him beside me. I go home after shift without carrying a burden. People look at me and treat me differently now. I walk the streets with a sense of pride in what I do. When I was working as a waitress at night and cook by day, I realized that everything that happened to me had its reasons. If not, I would not have known about ALS and NOLITC,” Irish shared.
The story of Irish is one of the many in NOLITC – from a former jeepney barker now Call Center Manager, to an adopted son of a farmer to now Supervisor of a BPO company, to former house helpers who are now earning well in a call center. This social investment of government makes these individuals, its partners for change. *(JCM/EAD-PIA6 Negros Occidental) February 11, 2017 by: Easter Anne D. Doza