SEOUL, South Korea, Oct. 3 (Korea Bizwire) –The Seoul Metropolitan Government is planning to build skills academy to educate individuals specializing in social-economic development as part of the process of rebuilding the street economy by delegating skills academy graduates with public tasks for urban restoration and housing maintenance.
Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon announced the plan last Monday at the Global Platform for Promoting Social Economy (GSEF) held in Bilbao, Spain. Pointing out that street vendors, small restaurants, and barber shops have “disappeared from the streets,” Park said the problem lies in the budget for urban restoration being “drained by franchises or outside companies.”
As a solution, he proposed that “skills academy educate local communities,” adding that “priority will be given to graduates to participate in maintenance projects in local communities, like refurbishing streets or fixing houses.”
Seoul’s new plan has been inspired by Mondragon City in Spain. A small municipality of 22,000 residents, Mondragon houses the world’s largest cooperative, the Mondragon Corporation, which has become a symbol of socioeconomic development.
The Mondragon Corporation began from a small skills academy built in 1944 in a city where more than 80 percent of the residents had fled following the Spanish Civil War. Five graduates from this school started an oil stove factory that led to what it is today. Now, the Mondragon Corporation accounts for 10 percent of Spain’s GDP, and employs 66 percent of local residents in Mondragon.
The Seoul Metropolitan Government is following in the footsteps of Mondragon to build skills academies for local residents and assign local projects to cooperatives or village companies owned by skills academy graduates to maximize spending efficiency.
Park calls it the ‘virtuous cycle of local economic ecosystem,’ an idea which seeks to ensure the prosperity of local markets by directing all profits straight to the hands of local residents.
Seoul plans to begin the initiative by first opening two skills academies in the city next year, and then gradually building more schools throughout the entire Seoul area.
Park said changing a competition-oriented society “may leave people confused as to where to begin,” and that the challenge lies in the participant’s ability to “create jobs and create profit.”
H.M. Kang (firstname.lastname@example.org)