Persons with Disabilities Can Help Boost Productivity Levels – Minister Kellier

Photo: JIS Photographer Minister of Labour and Social Security, Hon. Derrick Kellier (right), engages in discussion with Abilities Foundation’s garment construction trainee, Johnell Bailey (2nd right) about some of the garments and other items made by her and other trainees, which were on display during the Foundation’s annual ‘Open Day’ event at its Constant Spring Road location in St. Andrew on November 29. Looking on (from left) are: the Foundation’s Managing Director, Susan Hamilton; and trainee, Laquida Hutchinson.

Story Highlights

  • Minister Kellier, says many persons with disabilities are industrious and resourceful persons, who can make a meaningful contribution to the country’s labour market.
  • He urged the nation to “spare no effort in breaking down the barriers and opening the doors for an inclusive society for all”.
  • Mr. Kellier praised the Abilities Foundation for the “tremendous work” it has been doing in preparing persons with disabilities for the job market.

Labour and Social Security Minister, Hon. Derrick Kellier, says many persons with disabilities are industrious and resourceful persons, who can make a meaningful contribution to the country’s labour market and boost productivity levels.

“We in the Ministry of Labour and Social Security recognised long ago the need for the development of that 10 to 12 per cent of the population in Jamaica living with disabilities, and the valuable contribution they can make to radically improving the productivity levels in our country,” he said.

The Minister was addressing the Abilities Foundation’s annual ‘Open Day’ event on Friday, November 29 at its Constant Spring Road location in St. Andrew.

He urged the nation to “spare no effort in breaking down the barriers and opening the doors for an inclusive society for all”, noting that a great part of this process of inclusiveness involves preparing the members of the disabled community to impact the labour market.

Mr. Kellier praised the Abilities Foundation for the “tremendous work” it has been doing in preparing persons with disabilities to match the skills sets required for the job market.

“The Abilities Foundation continues to play a critical and vitally important role by ensuring that Jamaicans with disabilities are empowered with the skills to become independent and employable members of our society,” he said.

The Open Day showcased the talents of the students in the areas in which they have been trained, such as furniture making, housekeeping, general office administration, horticulture and garment construction.

The Minister said he was “taken aback and encouraged by the quality,” of some of the items made by the students that were on display.

Managing Director, Abilities Foundation, Susan Hamilton, is convinced that the Foundation’s graduates can make a difference in the workforce and in the general society.

“Our aim, this year, is to show employers that their businesses can reap positive results from hiring persons with disabilities,” she said.

Ms. Hamilton said the Open Day which was held under the theme: ‘Impacting the Labour Market with a Difference’, served to “showcase what our students can do, here they are heading and how they’ll make a difference in the marketplace”.

In the meantime, members of the Harris Family Vision Foundation, a charitable organisation based in New York, donated 18 wheelchairs and a walker to the Abilities Foundation.

The Abilities Foundation is a voluntary organisation which works to deliver quality vocational training and education to persons with disabilities.

Established in November 1991, the Foundation offers its programmes in collaboration with the Ministry of Labour and Social Security and the HEART Trust/NTA.

JIS Social