To further strengthen the Special Employment of Students (SPES), the Department of Labor and Employment has partnered with a US-based research institution and with an international grant-making non-government organization to conduct an impact evaluation of the SPES program.
Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz yesterday said Innovations Poverty Action (IPA), a non-profit organization based in Connecticut, USA, will spearhead the impact evaluation, together with the International Initiative for Impact Evaluation (3ie), a global grant-making NGO that promotes evidence-informed development policies and programmes, under the Philippine Policy Window.
“We have incorporated the SPES as a priority program to be evaluated by 3ie under Philippine Policy Window of the DOLE. This window develops and fund rigorous, mixed-methods impact evaluations commissioned by policymakers and programme managers to answer questions about the impact of interventions they implement in the Philippines,” Baldoz said.
In support of the impact evaluation project, Secretary Baldoz constituted a DOLE SPES-Technical Working Group (TWG) to assist the research partners in the conduct of the impact evaluation.
“We created a special TWG to support a robust and credible impact evaluation of SPES, in order for us to identify key policy and program implications that would further enhance the delivery of the program,” she added.
The SPES-TWG is headed by the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Employability of Workers and Competitiveness of Enterprises Cluster, with the following offices as its members: Bureau of Local Employment (BLE); Institute of Labor Studies (ILS); Planning Service (PS); Labor Communications Office (LCO); and selected DOLE Regional Offices—NCR, 3, 4-A, 7, 11, and 13.
Meanwhile, the DOLE regional offices will be tasked to coordinate and provide operational and administrative support to the impact evaluation implements of the IPA.
“We are placing great emphasis on the implementation and evaluation of SPES under the specific directives of President Benigno S. Aquino III, who has been true to his promise of ‘investing on human resource’, especially the youth, by consistently increasing the SPES budget,” Baldoz said.
The labor and employment chief, on this note, said that because of continued budget increases, the DOLE was able to reach more beneficiaries. In 2011, the program was extended to a total of 120,312 students; in 2012, a total of 138,635 students; in 2013, a total of 167,569 students; and last year, 182,573 students. As of June 2015, the DOLE was able to reach a total of 169,246 SPES beneficiaries.
“The SPES is an opportunity to enhance the employability of the youth, who will eventually be the next generation of the country’s workforce. More than giving the students gainful experience while earning some cash they can use when they go back to school, we want a long-term result of the SPES program by means of increased employment opportunities to the beneficiaries,” Baldoz finally said.
 SPES is a bridging program that enhances the employability of young student-workers. Established in 1992 under Republic Act No. 7323, which was amended by RA 9547, the SPES is open to all qualified high school, college or vocational/technical students, and out-of-school-youth.