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Message-Id: <199710161718.NAA24774@hermes.circ.gwu.edu>
Sender: owner-imap@chumbly.math.missouri.edu
Date: Wed, 15 Oct 97 14:19:25 CDT
From: rich@pencil (Rich Winkel)
Organization: PACH
Subject: Poor Chilean Youth Sapped
Article: 19940

/** econ.saps: 226.0 **/
** Topic: IPS:Poor Chilean Youth Sapped **
** Written 8:15 AM Oct 13, 1997 by dgap in cdp:econ.saps **
Copyright 1997 InterPress Service, all rights reserved.
Worldwide distribution via the APC networks.

Unemployment Looms for Juvenile Dropouts

By Gustavo Gonzalez, IPS
8 October 1997

SANTIAGO, Oct 8 (IPS) - There was a time when unskilled workers could always count on a job in Chile - working in seasonal jobs in agriculture, crop pickers or as shift workers , loading and unloading rail and road transports or performing other menial tasks. With the rise of a capital-intensive economy in Chile, those days have gone.

Lack of professional skills, work experience and professional titles and a shortage of jobs are some of the reasons why 35 percent of all poor young people in Chile are unemployed. The growth in juvenile unemployment in recent years remains a worry to the government of Eduardo Frei, especially because so many unemployed young people are among the poorest.

Chile has an unemployment rate of 6.5 percent, but this figure is nearly tripled in the case of the 16-24 year old group and has become one of the greatest obstacles to eradicating poverty.

For many teenagers between 14 and 19 it is difficult to remain in school, usually because of family ptreswsure to earn money. For the youth aged between 20 and 24 years it is difficult to enter the labor market because they don't have the qualifications or experience needed.

In an effort to overcome the problem, the government created a training programme for young people called "Young Chile," directed at youth who left school and want to work. It is estimated that 60 percent of the 55,000 young people have gone through this programme have found decent jobs, because they also had the opportunity to study.

The government believes it has produced a favorable situation for employment, as much for women as for youth, even with inequalities which are impossible to reduce while there are not more resources.

Various studies indicate that a series of factors exist that make entering the job market more difficult for youth and women.

In the case of young people, it is necessary to form good work habits, and to help them with drug addiction and alcoholism, which directly affect the poorest sectors of the population who are more vulnerable to pressure through the lack of job prospects.

Daniel Ponce, 25, left school about 10 years ago. Today he finds "It is very hard. I have applied for thousands of jobs, from laboring to sweeping the streets but for all of these jobs, they want someomne with at least a fourth grade in middle school education. When they find out I don't have one I don't get the job."

Women are particularly affected, not only through lack of qualifications and low wages, but because they also confront the problem of child care - in cases where single mother and female heads of households must work to support their families.

The Frei government also is developing programs for women, "Boss of the House," allowing some 10,000 women who have been trained there to enter the work force.

Carola Salas, 18, said the government courses "are a great help to young people of few resources who could not pay to go to university, because without a degree it is very hard to find work."

Many young people affected by unemployment also think it is hard to find work without adequate studies of needed experience. "It's very hard to find a job," said Pablo Troncoso, 22. Last year I finished the fourth level of middle school and I don't have any degree or experience in anything."

The fourth level is the last grade in middle school in Chile, which also has eight grades for primary school.

Luis Martinez, 20 and unemployed, recalls his experience: "I finished studying last year and I have been searching everywhere. I have had four jobs up until now. In each one, they demand that you have experience or higher studies."



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