The community and the environment both benefit when two companies that both strive to go beyond business come together.

When Lopez-led geothermal leader Energy Development Corporation’s (EDC) Mahanagdong B geothermal power plant in Leyte was badly hit by a 6.5 magnitude earthquake in 2017, it was  Jacobs Engineering that helped the company to not just restore it but to build back a better facility.

Aaron Hochwimmer, Jacobs Engineering Group’s Director of Operations-Power, showed a copy of the check amounting to $10,000 that their company has donated to KEITECH, whose administrator and head of EDC’s Corporate Social Responsibility team in Leyte, Erwin Magallanes, flashed a copy of their certificate of donation for Jacobs during their recently held virtual donation turnover ceremony via Zoom.

This September 2020, Jacobs Engineering has donated $10,000 to EDC-initiated KEITECH Educational Foundation, Incorporated (KEITECH) to help fund its student-trainees’ tuition and fees.

“The successful Mahanagdong project delivery in 2017 was underpinned by the positive working relationship between the two companies with shared safety and sustainability values and a commitment to work towards a zero-carbon future. We are pleased to partner with EDC, which is one of the world leaders in geothermal energy,” said Aaron Hochwimmer, Jacobs Engineering’s Director of Operations-Power, in his message during the recently held virtual donation turnover ceremony.

He further emphasized: “Our team was delighted to recognize KEITECH and to leave an enduring legacy with the community. The fundamental lessons on values that KEITECH teaches are also fundamentals for us in Jacobs and we think that they were instrumental to the success of our project with EDC.” 

Bartending is just one of the many skills that trainees learn in KEITECH’s Hotel and Restaurant Services course. The 11-year old tech-voc school in Kananga, Leyte maintains a 100% passing rate for its over 1,000 graduates  in all national certification exams of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA).

KEITECH is a technical-vocational school established in 2009 by geothermal leader Energy Development Corporation (EDC) in partnership with the local government of Kananga in Leyte and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) to help address the high poverty incidence and unemployment rate in the municipality of Kananga in Leyte by enabling qualified youth to acquire the top skills that are locally and globally in-demand. KEITECH has played a role that shaped not only the future of its over 1,000 graduates but also the true meaning of public-private partnership.

Each student receives a full scholarship including uniforms, shoes, safety gears, school supplies, and is given accommodations and meals for the duration of their training.  KEITECH’s 10-month training program is tailor-fit to the most in-demand jobs in construction, metals and engineering, and  hotel and restaurant services.  

What makes KEITECH a cut above the rest is that all graduates have achieved a 100% passing rate in TESDA’s National Certification.  Its values formation and skills training program and aggressive placement program has been a big boost to the graduates’ employability. 

“We express our deepest gratitude to Jacobs Engineering Group not only for their generous donation to KEITECH but more importantly, for being EDC’s partner that seeks to elevate its beneficiaries,” said James Arnold Villaroman, former business unit head of EDC’s Leyte Geothermal Facility and current head of the company’s Long-term Strategy Group.

“The financial assistance that Jacobs Engineering has provided to the student trainees of KEITECH is another proof of how it strives to ignite economic prosperity among impoverished communities through education, which we in EDC also believe is the greatest equalizer. As EDC and the rest of the Lopez group embark on our new chosen path of fostering collaborative pathways for a decarbonized and regenerative future, we are honored to have like-minded partners like Jacobs,” Villaroman added.

EDC’s Leyte geothermal facility has been supplying power to the province of Leyte and the rest of the Visayas region for almost 40 years.  The company’s over 1,205-megawatt total installed geothermal capacity accounts for 62% of the country’s generated renewable energy and is responsible for putting EDC and the Philippines on the map as the world’s 3rd largest geothermal producer.

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