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Samsung chief resumes official business after release from prison

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Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong, front right, and Prime Minister Kim Kim Boo-kyum, front left, applaud during the youth hope ON project meeting at the Samsung Software Academy for Youth (SSAFY) Seoul Campus, Tuesday. Yonhap
Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong, front right, and Prime Minister Kim Kim Boo-kyum, front left, applaud during the youth hope ON project meeting at the Samsung Software Academy for Youth (SSAFY) Seoul Campus, Tuesday. Yonhap

Tech giant vows to create 70,000 jobs in the next three years

By Kim Hyun-bin

Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong started his official business agenda a month after his release from prison.

Prime Minister Kim Boo-kyum hosted the youth hope ON project meeting with Lee at the Samsung Software Academy for Youth (SSAFY) Seoul Campus, Tuesday.

After their meeting, Lee vowed to create 30,000 additional positions for young jobseekers through its corporate social responsibility (CSR) program within the next three years.

"Samsung Group through SSAFY plans to create 10,000 jobs annually for the next three years as part of their diverse social contribution projects. They will initiate a project that would create a total of 30,000 youth jobs," Prime Minister Kim Boo-kyum said. Samsung vowed to create 40,000 jobs on August 24 and a total of 70,000 jobs in the next three years, Kim added.

Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong takes photos with students enrolled at the company-run SSAFY coding program in this photo taken in 2019. Korea Times file
Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong takes photos with students enrolled at the company-run SSAFY coding program in this photo taken in 2019. Korea Times file

Participants of Samsung's SSAFY program pose in front of the logo at the SSAFY Seoul Campus. Courtesy of Samsung Electronics
Participants of Samsung's SSAFY program pose in front of the logo at the SSAFY Seoul Campus. Courtesy of Samsung Electronics

SSAFY is Samsung's representative CSR program, offering young jobseekers under 30 years of age free coding lessons for a year. Samsung offers enrolled students 1 million won ($854) a month as part of an educational subsidy. The program has become hugely popular among young jobseekers.

"We will do our best to aid the 'Youth Hope' project," Lee said.

During the meeting, the vice chairman and the prime minister held a video conference with SSAFY students and teaching staff to discuss ways to enhance youth employment.

It was the first official business schedule for the vice chairman after his conditional release from prison last month.

Some industry watchers believe Lee's commitment to resolve the youth unemployment crisis during the encounter with the prime minister shows Samsung's willingness to expand its corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities.

Samsung Electronics plans to double the enrollment of its SSAFY trainees from the current 1,000 annually to 2,000 students.

In August, Samsung announced it will invest 240 trillion won and create 40,000 jobs in the next three years and open SSAFY nationwide.

All related expenses for participants, including lunch, educational software and teachers' salaries are covered by Samsung. According to the company, around 77 percent of the 2,087 participants in the last four years were able to land a job upon completion of the program.

"We are reorganizing our CSR activities so that it could contribute to our society in a practical way and we plan to establish specific measures to do so," a Samsung Electronics official said.

The meeting between Lee and the prime minister comes amid strong opposition from civic groups over the vice chairman returning to his official business affairs after his conditional release from prison on August 13.

However, the prime minister has supported Lee returning to normal business activities since his release from prison.

"He has already been released from prison, but banning him from business activities is not an appropriate measure," Kim said in an interview on August 31. "The public has higher standards for chaebols' roles, but there are also people who believe taking away the vice chairman's business opportunities might be an unfair move."


Kim Hyun-bin hyunbin@koreatimes.co.kr


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