Guiding lights | Inquirer Opinion
The Learning curve

Guiding lights

Los Angeles — If we go by the numbers, getting a job shouldn’t really be that difficult for somebody who just finished college or even senior high school, the absence of relevant work experience notwithstanding. Every labor report that I’ve read in the last five years invariably says that employers are desperately looking to fill many job vacancies in their organizations. The thousands of graduates that schools turn out yearly could potentially fill that void, but unfortunately it’s easier said than done.

Many hiring managers say they just can’t seem to find the right fit from among the hopeful multitude of applicants they see every day. The standing lament is that the training provided by educational institutions is no longer aligned with current workplace demands and realities. This is a valid point, but it does not present a complete picture.


In its employment engagement research, the global consulting firm BlessingWhite found that “employees are tired of delivering heroics for their employer, they’re ready to crawl out from the safe place of ‘at least I have a job,’ and they’re thinking about their future.” Furthermore, “most employees don’t expect organizations to provide structured career paths. And as organizations morph to keep up with the demands of today’s global economy, most routes are likely to be redrawn as fast as they’re mapped out.”

The Career Development Association of the Philippines (CDAP) is an accredited continuing professional provider for the Professional Regulation Commission, and caters to the professional advancement of licensed guidance and career counselors, career advocates, career development and human resource practitioners. It assists individuals in their career planning, decision–making, and work-related concerns through the conduct of career development programs, workshops, career counseling/coaching and consulting services. Its core advocacy aims to advance the practice of career guidance and counseling through continuous research and development activities.


The members of the 2017–2019 CDAP board took their oath of office a few days ago. On their shoulders rest the challenge of ensuring that the CDAP holds true to its mandate: to be the guiding light to meaningful career and professional advancement of senior high school and college graduates, as well as those already in the workforce.

The CDAP’s strategic thrust toward this end is to strengthen the link between industry and the academe. According to Ramon Segismundo, president of the People Management Association of the Philippines (PMAP) and chief human resource officer of Meralco, the academe must understand the “future of work” so that its students can make informed career choices. The PMAP has been closely collaborating with the Management Association of the Philippines, the Employers Confederation of the Philippines, the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and the IT & Business Process Association of the Philippines (Ibpap) to formulate the National  On-the-Job (OJT) Training Manual. When finalized, this document can help define the OJT policy of all schools and employers when students embark on their internships or practicum, which lasts anywhere from 200 to 1,000 hours depending on the course.

At the oathtaking ceremony, CDAP president ex-officio Mari D. Jose said his organization is engaged in mutually productive partnerships with Ibpap, Harrison Profiles International, Profiles Asia,, Servicio Filipino Inc. and other agencies and nongovernment offices in order to accelerate the practice of career development in schools and workplaces.

“Industry now has a chance to get involved,” remarked former Ibpap CEO Benedict Hernandez. “If we don’t get involved, we have no right to complain.”

In her closing remarks, CDAP founding member Dr. Josie Santamaria issued a profoundly simple challenge: Let’s focus on the work ahead.

Incoming president Sonia Mendoza and the new board are confident that they are up to the task.

Butch Hernandez ([email protected]) is the executive director of the Eggie Apostol Foundation.

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