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U.S. launches P1.6-Billion UPSKILL program to boost PH higher education

US Embassy February 24,2024 - 09:00 AM

Ched UPSKILL program

(From left) Philippine Association of State Universities and Colleges President Tirso Ronquillo, Department of Trade and Industry Assistant Secretary Leonila Baluyut, Department of Science and Technology Assistant Secretary Napoleon Juanillo, Second Congressional Education Commission Executive Director Karol Mark Yee, University of Santo Tomas Vice Rector for Academic Affairs Cheryl Peralta, USAID Deputy Assistant Administrator for East Asia and the Pacific Sara Borodin, USAID Philippines Mission Director Ryan Washburn, Commission on Higher Education Executive Director Cinderella Benitez-Jaro, Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines Director General Rowel Barba, and UPSKILL Chief of Party Richard Abendan.

Manila, Philippines —The United States government launched the U.S.-Philippines Partnership for Skills, Innovation, and Lifelong Learning or UPSKILL Program, a five-year, P1.6-billion ($30 million) initiative that will help Philippine higher education become more globally competitive.

The program which was in coordination with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), aims at strengthening innovation, workforce development, and entrepreneurship in colleges and universities. 

 U.S. President Joseph Biden and Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. jointly announced the UPSKILL Program initiative during President Marcos’s visit to the White House in May 2023.

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 USAID’s UPSKILL Program will bring together U.S. universities, Philippine government agencies engaged in human capital development, and private sector partners to promote innovation and entrepreneurship in higher education institutions through faculty and staff training, curriculum improvements, and increasing community outreach and technology transfer. 

These efforts will improve the qualifications and career prospects of Filipino higher education graduates to continuously meet evolving workforce needs and enhance linkages between U.S. and Philippine universities.

 The UPSKILL Program is implemented by RTI International through a consortium of U.S. universities, which includes Arizona State University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University, and Philippine partners such as and the Philippine Business for Education.

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 “The challenges and opportunities that young people face today in the workplace make college training and education critical for their future success,” visiting USAID Deputy Assistant Administrator for East Asia and the Pacific Sara Borodin said during the UPSKILL Program launch at the University of Santo Tomas in Manila.

 “Through this new USAID program, the United States government reaffirms its commitment to working with our Filipino partners in transforming the higher education sector,” said Borodin.

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 Officials from the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), the Second Congressional Education Commission, the Department of Science and Technology, the Department of Trade and Industry, the National Economic and Development Authority, and the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines, as well as representatives from several Philippine universities attended the UPSKILL Program launch.

 “With this partnership with USAID, the Commission on Higher Education will provide unique opportunities for our colleges and universities to continuously innovate in response to the aspirations of the Philippines, and specifically that of our students,” CHED Executive Director Cinderella Filipina Benitez-Jaro said. 

“Together, we will demonstrate the compelling value of internationally recognized training, cooperative research, and lifelong learning modalities being offered by Philippine higher education.”


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TAGS: Higher Education, UPSKILL Program, US, USAID

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