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Secretary Alcalde defends program.

Youth employment program subject to ongoing monitoring: secretary

Labor Secretary Alcalde said the number of irregularities identified is not significant

Labor Secretary Luisa María Alcalde is insisting that a federal youth employment program launched earlier this year has been a success despite reports of corruption and irregularities.

In an interview with W Radio, Alcalde acknowledged that there have been complaints of irregularities in 300 work centers associated with the “Youth Building the Future” program, but the number of complaints is not significant.

“I would say that they are not significant statistics,” she said. “Let’s remember that there are 158,000 work centers where almost a million young people are being trained.”

The Youth Building the Future program offers government scholarships of 3,600 pesos (US $183) a month to more than 900,000 young people to work for around 158,000 employers across the country, including businesses, nonprofits and government agencies.

But a report yesterday by the newspaper Milenio revealed a series of irregularities. Federal delegates in nine different states told the newspaper that some young people enrolled in the program are being pressured to give part of their scholarship money to their employers in exchange for not having to work.

Other participants have complained that they are being charged money by their employers to be able to work, or that employers are withholding payment.

Alcalde said her office will work to eliminate irregularities in the program.

“It’s important that the young people protect their right to participate in the program, and if someone asks for part of their scholarship, they should say no and switch employers,” she said.

The secretary said the government is working with the program’s private sector participants to find new opportunities.

“The private sector has expressed to us that the program has served as a good mechanism to recruit, identify talent, and hire skilled young people,” she said. “We continue to work closely with the private sector, with chambers of commerce, we are constantly having meetings to plan, follow up, monitor and evaluate the program, as well as to talk about future opportunities.”

Source: Milenio (sp)

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