Program to help migrant workers find better jobs

Updated: 2013-07-11 02:46

By WANG HONGYI in Shanghai (China Daily)

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Migrant worker Li Ning recently found a way to break into the white-collar job market with a free business education program.

Li was offered two months of business and management study by Shanghai's East China University of Science and Technology.

The program mainly targets migrant workers who want to shift from technical work to managerial jobs.

Migrant worker training programs of this kind organized by government bodies, schools and social organizations are rare.

"It has been eight years. Now I'm experienced in my professional field, and I want to become a midlevel manager at my company," the 29-year-old said. "But I don't know how to manage a business."

Li came to Shanghai from Shandong province 10 years ago after graduating from a vocational school. He works as a line worker in a factory that produces telecommunication systems.

Li married and now has a 6-year-old child. "I really want to settle down in the city and make a better life for my family," he said.

Li will be one step closer to his dream in September when the program, which will enroll 60 migrants, starts.

The program includes MBA-style courses that fit the participants' educational background.

Participants will learn problem-solving techniques from students in the school's MBA program and from business managers.

"The program aims to improve comprehension and management skills and make migrant workers more competitive in the job market," said Wang Zhenjiang, a student who is also one of the program's founders.

"We found that many migrant workers are faced with a career-development bottleneck," Wang said. "They have been in the city for years and want to rise in society, but they are squeezed into a small career space.

"I'm not good at communication, and my writing ability is also low. But those skills are important for a management position," Li said. "This program can help with my shortcomings."

Statistics show the country has about 250 million migrant workers, most from rural areas. They face education, healthcare and residence problems.

A significant problem of urbanization is how migrants integrate into a city.

"Younger migrant workers are more likely to take root in the city," said Wu Bojun, dean of the business school.

"However, employers and society have failed to create good conditions for their development," he said. "The program will help students bear the social responsibility."