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Job programs aid laid-off migrants

FOR millions of migrant workers in China who have lost their jobs as a result of the global financial crisis, finding new work is difficult if they have no expertise or skills.

Migrant workers in the northeastern Liaoning Province, however, are benefiting from a scheme to help them develop at least one skill.

About 1.5 million people in Liaoning, including 700,000 rural migrants, have received free training since 2005, said Wang Chenxin, assistant director of the Liaoning Provincial Labor and Social Security Department. And more than 60 percent of them have found jobs, he added.

The government-funded job-training program was launched in 2005 to help the many workers laid off in the province's industrial reform, and it provides food and transport subsidies for some participants. The program was extended later to farmers who want to open their own businesses or find work in cities, and high school graduates.

About 600 training institutions in Liaoning offer courses in 96 fields to migrants from rural areas, laid-off urban workers, and young people new to the work force.

The provincial government has spent 900 million yuan (US$131 million) on the program and 290 million yuan on training equipment.

As a result, an estimated 1.6 million of Liaoning's 2 million migrant workers are employed, mainly in the manufacturing and service industries.

At least 20 million of China's 130 million migrant workers have become jobless after tens of thousands of labor-intensive factories closed due to shrinking market demand, and job training schemes for migrant workers are springing up around China.

Authorities in the southern Guangdong Province offered training to 4 million people last year and plan to provide training to another 4 million this year.

In Guangzhou, the provincial capital, a new program provides free job consultation and information on job openings, and training courses free of charge or at discounted prices to the unemployed.


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