Sleepy Leyte town wakes up, thanks to newly-skilled workers

Published by rudy Date posted on April 29, 2011

MANILA, Philippines — The Kananga-EDC Institute of Technology (KEITECH) in Kananga town in Leyte has become a benchmark for alternative education and training program that has transformed unskilled youth into highly-skilled workers. It was jointly founded in June 2009 by geothermal leader Energy Development Corporation (EDC), the municipal government of Kananga, and TESDA.

Leyte, site of EDC’s largest geothermal field, is in the typhoon-belt area and thus experiences limited industrialization and economic development. Adding to this woe is the low average household income of P10,000 to P15,000 annually. Topping it all is the high unemployment rate at 15 percent in Kananga town.

As a key member of the local community, EDC decided to help uplift the economic status of its host towns through livelihood projects and a job contract for the company’s operational and maintenance requirements.

However, there are not many qualified skilled workers in these communities which are dependent on subsistence farming. Aware of their predicament, the Kananga LGU approached EDC to help develop the skills of the local manpower and address growing unemployment. KEITECH was thus born.

World-class training facility

KEITECH initially offers courses in construction, metals and engineering, and tourism/health/social services. Trainees from these three program areas go through two or more focused skills programs that will lead them to five training paths.

Students and most of the trainors are housed in the institute’s dormitories from Monday to Friday. The trainors also serve as dorm masters. About 75 percent of the trainees are residents of Kananga, while the rest are from other EDC host communities.

Curriculum was customized to include additional lessons on Mathematics, English, occupational health and safety, and hands-on exercises.

EDC also aspired to raise the level of training a notch higher by focusing not only on the acquisition of technical skills but also on discipline and values development. The company believes that the worker’s character is a big plus factor that employers look for in job applicants.

“Your diploma and technical skills will help you get a job but it is your work values and habits that will make you keep it and propel you to success in your career,” says Oscar Lopez, EDC chairman emeritus, during the second KEITECH graduation ceremony.


Among KEITECH’s notable accomplishments are: gainful employment of 109 out of the 117 first batch of graduates or a 95 percent employment rate; 100 percent assessment passing rate; and the distinction of being part of the local ecotourism destination.

In the TESDA qualification assessment in December 2010, KEITECH trainees registered a 100 percent passing rate in Carpentry NC II, Shielded Metal Arc Welding (SMAW) NC II, and Food and Beverage Service NC II.

Engineer Emiliano Argoncillo, manager of EDC’s Community Partnerships Department in Leyte, and KEITECH administrator, Dr. Emiliano Saceda II, attribute the high passing rate to rigid training, values development program, and full institutional support.

Kananga Mayor Elmer Codilla acknowledged KEITECH’s important role in improving the town’s socio-economic situation by helping the unskilled learn a trade, be gainfully employed, and become productive members of the community.

(For more information on TESDA programs and services, call 887-7777, send SMS message 09174794370 (Globe) 09182738232 (Smart) or follow us in Facebook (TESDA, Sec Joel Villanueva TESDA) and Twitter (SecJOELngTESDA).–TESDA Beat

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