ACT, KeyTrain, Bataan and JobStart Program

K12 Keytrain Curriculum Efficacy Study

We believe in the value of education, seeing that it lays foundational skills and equips a person to become more efficient by helping him achieve the legitimate goals of his life with increasing facility. As a company, we invest not only in the professional and personal development of our people and the workforce, but more importantly, in the future of the Filipino youth. We are committed to support endeavors that promote the development of schools and in nurturing the academic performance and personal growth of students. The challenge of finding ways to close the gap between education and the industry and to better prepare students for work are both crucial and very real. This compels us to an initiative that may change the course of the present education system.

Executive Summary: Effectiveness of ACT KeyTrain Program in Developing Foundational Workplace Skills Among Selected Third Year High School Students in Bataan

Effectiveness of ACT KeyTrain Program in Developing Foundational Workplace Skills Among Selected Third Year High School Students in Bataan

SFI Career Center Inc.

August 2014


The Philippine education system has changed dramatically over the years. Approaches to education have become more varied when it comes to the teaching and learning process. The way students are seen by educators today provided more comprehensive information in examining intermingling factors in student achievement and personal success. Educatorshave providedan array of modern psychological and educational frameworks that offer relevant ways of improving teaching and learning process. One of these is career readiness.

The K-12 curriculum is seen to have renewed perspective in the teaching and learning process and improving the Philippine labor force. Students are expected to have the necessary knowledge, skills and values that they need in order to be career-ready. Furthermore, since the goal of K-12 curriculum is to prepare students for workand sufficient mastery of basic competencies such as literacy, numeracy, problem solving in developing oneself (K-12 Toolkit, 2013), one of the major challenges for educators is how to connect things learned in school to the workplace and real life.

Likewise, the K-12 curriculum also plays an important role in responding to the observed “skills gap” that has long been a predicament in various industries.High school graduates do not have the entry level skills required by the employers. Candidates for entry level positions are described to be lacking in foundational workplace skills. These skills are the basic skills that facilitate learning of higher level skills and serve as a springboard for occupational development in the workplace particularly in acquiring more job-specific knowledge and skills. The secondary school curriculum should help students develop these foundational skills while in school so that high school graduates leave school prepared to enter the workplace. However, the current state of affairs in many workplaces reflects the opposite. This trend will continue unless an effective intervention program is developed and implemented to address the situation.

Aside from skills gap, another disturbing issue is the increasing number of unqualified candidates who cannot land a job.Many are deficient in critical and creative thinking needed in problem solving, and some are poor in communication skills critical in inter-personal relationship (DOLE, 2014). However, it is possible that if these unsuccessful candidates are provided with the right kind of opportunity to improve their skills, they can eventually be more prepared for the career of their choice. Educators must address the challenge of establishing career pathways that help students develop the foundational skills required by employers—now and in the years to come (ACT, 2013).Moreover, this presents a formidable challenge in making education and training system responsive and relevant to the needs of industries in making the graduates be employable in the labor market (Baldoz, 2014).

Foundational skills are the fundamental, “portable” skills that are essential in conveyingand receiving information that is critical to training and workplace success. Theseskills serve as a basisfor supporting additional operations, tasks and learning. They are “portable” because, rather than beingjob specific, they can be applied at some level across a wide variety of occupations.Individuals who develop these skills have enhanced employability and are morecompetitive in the job market.In addition, Jones (2013) defined foundational skills (e.g.,basic skills, thinking skills, people skills and personal qualities) as those required of all workers in the high performance workplace of the 21st century.Researches done in the United States (ACT, 2013) showed that, as reported by most employers, the industries where high school graduates  have significant foundational skill deficiencies include manufacturing, business and professional services, financial and insurance services, health care, and entertainment.

Foundational skills are also called functional skills. Theseare the skills that workers need and must be equipped with to be employable and to support firms’ competitiveness and productivity(Gropello, et al., 2010). Functional skills include academic skills (e.g., math, literacy, English),generic or life skills (e.g., critical and creative thinking, problem solving, etc), and job-specific or technical skills (e.g., accounting and business math, graphic design, customer service, etc.). Research on foundational skills identifiedcompetencies in Applied Mathematics, Locating Information, and Reading for Information as the key skills for success in a wide range of jobs. In this connection, these are also the required skills in the 21st century skills framework.

It is in this regard that a modeling program was launched by Servicio Filipino Inc. (SFI), a private personnel agency, as part of its corporate social responsibility program, with the assistance of American College Testing (ACT), an international company that provides assessments and training modules in improving college and career success for high school students. The said program intended to examine the effectiveness of KeyTrain curriculum in terms of its viability to be implemented in local schools and how it improved the workplace foundational skills of the students. An evaluation study was conducted to document the over-all effectiveness of KeyTrain program.

The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of the program called Keytrain from ACT in terms of how it helped to develop the foundational workplace skills, namely, Applied Mathematics, Locating Information, and Reading for Information.

Specifically, the study sought to answer the following questions:

  1. Is there a difference between the experimental group and control group in terms of scale and level scores?
  2. Is the posttest significantly better than the pretest after the intervention?
  3. Did the experimental group perform significantly better than the control group in terms of the foundational workplace skills, namely, Applied Math, Locating Information, and Reading for Information?

Learning to Earning Program (LEAP) for Out-of-School Youth
(SFI JobStart Program)

MOA Signing for the JobStart Philippines (Apprenticeship Program)


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SFI JobStart Graduation Ceremony


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SFI Career Center, Inc.

January 2016




The Department of Labor and Employment, in partnership with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and Government of Canada – Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), launched the JobStart Philippines Program to increase the employability of out-of-school or at-risk youth.

The program resembles the DTS or the Dual Training Program of TESDA wherein students/participants undergo both classroom training and hands-on immersion in the workplace setting. It aims to develop highly capable Filipino youth that possess a high level of confidence and life critical skills needed to succeed in today’s modern workplace. Interested applicants went through a rigorous screening process to determine who will qualify in this life and career changing opportunity.

One thousand six hundred (1,600) candidates were randomly selected across the following areas: Quezon City, San Fernando in Pampanga, Taguig and General Trias in Cavite. Out of the seven hundred (700) selected beneficiaries in Quezon City, twenty (20) were further screened and selected by the SFI Group of Companies. The candidates must (1) be between 18 to 24 years old; (2) have at least a high school diploma; (3) be currently unemployed; (4) have less than one (1) year of work experience; and (5) be currently not enrolled in a learning institution (school or short course training).


Program Overview


The SFI Group of Companies opened its doors in providing equal employment opportunities to the out-of-school or at-risk youth through its participation in the Pilot Batch of JobStart Philippines. The SFI Group, with its flagship company Servicio Filipino Inc., is one of the leading organizations in providing total human resource solutions and quality services in engineering, property management, building cleaning management and technical services sectors for the past 56 years. The company’s solid industry experience paved the way for better employment opportunities and initiating a workforce development program for the Filipino nation.

A total of twenty (20) participants were selected in the Pilot Batch. The program consists of two parts: 1) Foundational and Technical Training for 3 months combining E-learning and Classroom Training and 2) Internship for 6 months that aimed to strengthen the new skills acquired and put them into practice in the actual workplace setting. The 9-month program’s coverage was from April 20, 2015 to July 24, 2015 for the Classroom Training, and July 27, 2015 to January 29, 2016 for the 6-month internship period.