Can A New Federal Initiative Boost Employment?

This one’s for the youth
BY: JORGE RUIZ-ESPARZA

Among the many promises the new president made in his campaign, some are starting to take shape. One of his campaign promises now moving to the front burner is the initiative to help young people  who either struggle in school or are in need of financial help. President Lopez Obrador, (AMLO) proposes hands-on training while receiving pay.

Those between the ages of 18 and 29 will have the opportunity to work with diverse companies, workshops, institutions and organizations both in the private sector and government. Each participant will receive a monthly stipend of $177 USD, health insurance, and, if they make it to the end, a certificate that will certify their abilities The entire project will go under the name of Youth Building the Future, and will cost nearly five million dollars. 

230 national and international companies have so far officially stepped up to offer job training, among them Walmart, Clorox, Colgate-Palmolive, JP Morgan, Costco, Dell, Coca-Cola, Duracell, Kellogg's, L'Oreal, Microsoft, Nestlé, Sears and PepsiCo.

 It has been estimated that around 2.3 million young people will benefit from this initiative, ridding them of their derisive nickname in Spanish "Nini" which would roughly translate to "Nor-nor" in English (Nor do they study, nor do they work), think of an unemployed young person living in his parents' basement.

 In order to efficiently provide the scholarships and financial aid, a rather new and unnoticed bank called Bansefi will serve as the government's means of depositing the financial aid, both for these students and unemployed youth as well as for retirees who have been promised that their pensions will be doubled.

Bansefi is one of a handful of banks owned by the government. Each individual will be able to withdraw their "paycheck" from the bank and online transactions will be offered as an alternative choice. Bansefi has had pretty much no presence in the peninsula or the entire country for that matter. The only branch in our state is in the city of La Paz. To handle these scholarships, the pensions, and all other financial aid for the youth and elderly, Bansefi will inevitably begin to receive special attention from the government and will most likely grow as the bank can manage government transactions with no third-party commissions needed.

During one of his stump speeches the president said this bank will now be transformed and become the Bank of Public Wellbeing and it will reach the most secluded communities, because if a monetary grant is given to a marginalized community in the mountains and people come down to collect the aid in Mazatlan, say, then all of that aid would be spent on the very trip. Well, gosh, we hope some of it goes into savings, at least for butter and eggs the next week.

This program is very controversial, as many see it as costing more than the country can afford. Maybe this will cut into the President's favorite program, his train through the Mayan jungle, which is getting even more push back.