Close to 500.This was the best estimate that government agencies could provide when asked how many graduates were produced by the four (4) higher education institutions (HEIs) inside the Freeport this year.I know for a fact that of the 500, five graduates of Comteq Computer and Business College were hired by IDESS Interactive, a Norwegian software development firm inside the Freeport, three months before they received their diploma.(No wonder Comteq was selected as the only educational institution that was selected by the Philippine Daily Inquirer for its mentoring program. Click this link and then this linkfor the articles.)How much salary were they offered? Well, if you were a software firm desperate for great artists (and can’t find a single qualified person from the present labor pool), how much would you pay?And get this, all five will be allowed to continue their studies!For IDESS Interactive, it pays to pay well. For the students, choosing the right college offering the right programs, paid huge dividends well before graduation. How big a deal is it for graduates to be recruited off the college campus? Ask an employed friend how long it took them to land a job. Let's experiment and agree that the first one you ask is the average for the Freeeport. So, how long did it took you friend to find a job? The Commission on Higher Education(CHED) started a nationwide tracer study for degree holders nationwide. The study also aims to find out how long the graduates looked for a job. But it ain't complete yet. So I did a crude research. Just to get an idea. I talked to nine (9) employees I knew and here it is the result. Three (3) people said they found a job 1.5 years after gradaution. Four (4) said it took them more than two (2) years, while the other two said more than two years. So here are some tips for those who are planning to take up a degree course this coming academic year 2009.1.) For the High School graduates and their parentsA.) Think about what you are passionate about, choose the right program, and enroll as soon as you can. Some Freeport schools offer limited slots per course to ensure quality education.B.) Check out the websites, ask around, and visit the campuses. Inspect the facilities but more importantly, check out the faculty line-up. Here is the list of schools inside the Freeport.Mondriaan Aura CollegeComteq Computer and Business CollegeFreeport Institute for Research, Science and TechnologyLyceum of Subic Bay2.) For the EmployersA.) Go to the colleges, and get the best.B.) Talk to the schools like IDESS did. Check this employee selection formula. FREE two to four years skills and knowledge assessment by college officials + character evaluation from faculty members + your recruitment process. How could you go wrong?C.) Pay better that the rest.3.) To the Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs)Get involved in your family’s choices. Who better to guide them than you?