Following the global financial crisis, employment has become a central topic in policy discussions and debates around the world. In a briefing on December 14, Korea’s Ministry of Labor and Employment (MOEL) outlined plans to address the pressing issues of limited job availability and income disparity in 2012.
MOEL announced that it plans to increase the budget for youth employment from 1.6 trillion won to 2 trillion won in the coming year in order to create approximately 70,000 long-term, sustainable jobs for youths. Moreover, the MOEL will set aside 200 billion won to help support youth start-up ventures and expand the number of interns at small and medium-sized businesses from the current 32,000 to at least 40,000.
In order to systematize support for and output from nationally funded employment centers, MOEL will implement programs that allow young workers to receive on-the-job training. Program offerings may range from training periods that help new employees adjust to the working environment of small and medium-sized businesses, to grade point accreditation and support to pursue an academic degree while employed full-time. These initiatives are designed to ensure merit-based qualifications and hiring processes, and MOEL will seek to single out those companies that have already proven to be exemplary in promoting this kind of human resource management ethic as examples to follow.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family (MOGEF) recently announced plans to provide specially tailored employment assistance programs to address the needs of women who have significant gaps in their work experience due to time spent in pregnancy and childbearing.
On December 23, MOGEF presented its plans to provide individually tailored job assistance programs for 130,000 people in 2012 before the Korean Youth Counseling Institute with President Lee Myung-bak in attendance.
The plan stipulates expanding the number of job training centers for women to 111 by next year and developing more in-depth programs for those with less access to employment opportunities, such as migrant women and women with disabilities. Furthermore, the Women Friendly City program, which currently counts 30 cities among its members and has received growing interest from regional administrations, will expand to 40 cities. MOGEF will also perform assessments, differentiating for gender, to measure the effects of such programs.
MOGEF, in partnership with regional governments, youth facilities, and school administrators, also plans to introduce a creative workshop program for youths to provide a wider range of opportunities for schoolchildren. After-school programs, which currently run five days a week, will be expanded to Saturday, and the 721 youth facilities located nationwide will introduce family camps and similar programs to encourage group participation by children and their families.