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Local lawmakers address plight of jobless grads

ONLY about one in every four of Shanghai's upcoming crop of college graduates had received a job contract by the end of last month, an official of Shanghai Jiao Tong University said yesterday.

The rate is 7 percent better than the national average, but it indicates that many highly educated young people are still looking for work only a few months before they leave college.

Addressing the issue, Shanghai lawmakers attending the ongoing National People's Congress session in Beijing focused their discussion yesterday morning on ways to help relieve the intense employment pressure facing new graduates.

"Students from poverty-stricken families are the current focus of our efforts to help," said Ma Dexiu, Jiao Tong's Party secretary.

She said the school learned recently that more than 1,000 of the students scheduled to graduate this year come from extremely poor families. College administrators will go all out to help them find jobs in Shanghai or in other cities, Ma said. She is also encouraging graduates to fulfill their military duties before starting work.

The two-year military service can provide practical life experience and make them stronger emotionally before they enter the highly competitive job market, she said.

Wang Enduo, an academician at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, suggested that local research labs create internships for college graduates who cannot not find work.

"Lab work is time consuming and very challenging. But some college graduates may be suitable for it," she said. "After spending two to three years in the lab, they should be in command of some very difficult techniques."

The trainees could also become fresh talent for the scientific institutions, she said. If the graduates are not interested in working for the state-owned labs, they could apply for positions in private enterprise. She also suggested that interns be granted a basic government allowance.

The lawmakers' discussions followed a government work report delivered on Thursday by Premier Wen Jiabao in which he outlined a pledge to strengthen overall employment policies this year and allocate 42 billion yuan to offset job losses caused by the global financial crisis. Jobs for college graduates and migrants were the two main targets.

There will be 7.1 million Chinese college graduates seeking work this year, including 1 million who failed to secure jobs last year. The jobless rate among university graduates now exceed 12 percent.

More than 158,000 students will graduate from local colleges this year, an increase of 9,000 from last year.

Among other benefits, the government's new effort will offer social security benefits and position subsidies for college graduates who take jobs in public administration and public services at the community level, Wen said.

He said graduates who accept jobs in villages or enlist in the army will receive tuition reimbursement and have their student loans forgiven.

Institutions of higher learning, research institutes and enterprises undertaking key research projects will be encouraged to recruit qualified university graduates for research work.

And to help graduates launch their own businesses, the government will speed up the establishment of startup industrial parks and incubation bases that don't require major investment and yield fast results.


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