New Graduates Gain Real-World Experience in DSWD Cash-for-Work Program

Bayambang—A total of 778 fresh graduates from Pangasinan and La Union state universities received their cash incentives on Saturday, marking the completion of their first jobs under the cash-for-work program of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

According to Philippines News Agency, more than the salary, the graduates celebrated the learnings that prepared them for life outside the campus.

Ericka Solomon, 23, a graduate of Bachelor of Science in Education from Pangasinan State University (PSU), recalled the pressure she encountered working as a staff member of the Student Service and Alumni Affairs at her alma mater. Despite the stress, she valued the experience. “It was like I was really already employed even though it is just a program. I experienced stress, like from the queries and concerns of our clients. But the program is a huge help to me and my family,” she said.

Solomon noted that her communication skills, time management, and professionalism improved significantly. Her salary also supported her family during her mother’s operation in February. “Instead of availing of the leave I was entitled to for my review for the licensure exam, I opted not to so that I could save money and help with the financial needs of my mother’s operation,” she said. Solomon passed the Licensure Examination for Teachers in March and is awaiting the results of her job applications in various schools.

The program included 417 beneficiaries from PSU and 361 from Don Mariano Marcos Memorial State University – Mid La Union, with some receiving up to PHP36,000 for a 90-day job or PHP400 per day. DSWD Ilocos Director Marie Angelan Gopalan explained that the temporary employment program under the Kapit Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (KALAHI-CIDS) was conceptualized to help students struggling to save money for their requirements after the pandemic.

Lawyer Bernadette Mapue-Joaquin, national program manager of KALAHI-CIDS, emphasized that the program provides fresh graduates with work experience in preparation for actual job hunting. “Some of them worked in schools, like in libraries doing administrative work, while others did technical work like writing letters, among others,” she told the Philippine News Agency.

PSU President Dr. Elbert Galas noted that the DSWD program and the sponsorship of Senator Imee Marcos aligned with the university’s mission to “immerse students in actual workplaces.”