The formation of the first Language Skills Institute (LSI) intended for the constituents of ARMM represents the culmination of another milestone in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. In the early part of 2007, Datu Omar Shariff L. Jaafar, the Executive Director of TESDA ARMM, initiated the construction of both LSI and TESDA ARMM Zamboanga City Liaison Office. The LSI addresses the current demand for workplace language proficiency in the labor market. The liaison office, on the other hand, manages and/or facilitates all activities of TESDA ARMM in Zamboanga City, such as scholarship concerns, inter-agency activities and expediting office transactions between the island provinces and TESDA ARMM Regional Office in Sultan Kudarat. The Language Skills Institute and the Liaison Office were inaugurated on November 21, 2007.
At its initial session in 2008, LSI inaugurated the course English Language and Culture with 50 trainees coming from the three island provinces of ARMM and its neighboring cities. Despite its small beginnings, LSI entered a period of rapid growth. The following year, there were as many as 500 trainees with an additional course in Arabic Language and Saudi/Gulf Culture. By 2010, another language was opened for the public: Mandarin Chinese Language and Culture. The LSI trainees were predominantly job-ready workers from all sorts of backgrounds who wished to enhance their workplace communication skills to prepare them for any job here or abroad. Since its inauguration, LSI has regularly provided scholarships to deserving applicants and has trained hundreds of beneficiaries, many of whom have gone on to work overseas or in the BPO industry. To date, LSI has already produced more than 3,000 graduates and now offering training in English, Arabic, Mandarin and Spanish.
While its focus was on preparing the trainees’ workplace communication skills, the LSI also developed several programs such as public speaking, personality development and technology seminars to students and professionals alike.