Korean government to send 3,000 interns abroad

From the Korea Herald:

The government is to send 2,930 interns overseas this year in a bid to tackle youth unemployment, officials said yesterday.

The Education Ministry expects to dispatch 300 four-year university graduates and 800 community college graduates with specific expertise to firms outside of Korea.

Those young people will receive support funds ranging from 4 million to 9 million won ($2,611 to $5,876).

The Ministry of Knowledge Economy also said it would select 1,000 interns and send them to foreign plant construction sites and trade exhibitions.

The Foreign Ministry is set to send 190 students to the United States, including 34 students from low-income families and three disabled students. They will take part in a study and travel program dubbed WEST (Work, English, Study and Travel). The students are scheduled to leave this month.

Alongside the program, the ministry will also pick 200 graduates of colleges and graduate schools to dispatch to 70 Korean government offices in foreign countries for six months.

The Ministry of Gender Equality will offer internship opportunities at international organizations and global conferences for 30 female graduate school students and the Rural Development Administration plans to send 65 domestic and global agriculture research interns to agencies like the Agricultural Research Service in the United States.

A recent report from the National Statistical Office said about 38 percent of those in their 20s - some 2.5 million people - were economically inactive in January, marking the highest since February 1988.

The situation is likely to worsen with almost 600,000 new high school and university graduates joining the already overcrowded job market.

A very important note - is that the WEST program is exclusive to the USA - and is set to expand enormously over the next few years, possibly hitting 5,000 per year by 2010*.  Internship placements for the WEST program are being coordinated by the KSEA.

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