A potential 40,000 Jamaicans could gain employment in the private sector, through an agreement between the Government and the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce (JCC).
A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the implementation of the 'Jamaica Employ' initiative was signed this morning (September 10), between Minister of Labour and Social Security, Hon. Derrick Kellier and President of the JCC, Milton Samuda, during a ceremony at Jamaica House.
The agreement will help to forge a linkage between job seekers and prospective employers through the creation of a registry accessible to the Ministry and the JCC and the various parish Chambers. It will seek to facilitate the flow of information between the JCC and the Ministry, regarding businesses and companies seeking to employ qualified, professional workers and individuals who are graduates of institutions or skills training establishments.
This project has the capacity to create at least 40,000 additional jobs in the economy by private sector companies employing at least one unemployed qualified Jamaican.
Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller, while speaking at the signing ceremony, noted that it is critical for the Government and the private sector to work together as a team to find creative solutions to the problem of unemployment among young, skilled and professional Jamaicans.
She commended the work of the Ministry of Labour and the JCC in drafting the MoU, which has the potential to reduce the number of unemployed skilled workers in the job market.
"My government is committed to finding real solutions to the problems confronting Jamaicans. This (programme) is for the possibility of creating 40,000 new jobs in the Jamaican economy over time. I am as committed to the idea that if every private sector entity was to employ at least one professionally qualified unemployed Jamaican, we could put a dent in the level of unemployment in this country,” she said.
"The agreement is based on a genuine co-operation and understanding between the government and the private sector. Nothing meaningful will be achieved in this country without genuine stakeholder co-operation," the Prime Minister emphasised.
Meanwhile, Minister Kellier said the agreement will see the government and the private sector working together as a team to target professionally qualified Jamaicans, who are currently unemployed or who are having difficulty finding employment.
"As a job creation strategy 'Jamaica Employ' makes sense to us in the Ministry of Labour and Social Security," he said. "We are very certain that its success, like the Jamaica Emergency Employment Programme (JEEP), will guarantee to the society over time, greater levels of social stability, improvement in our work ethics and culture, levels of skills transfer and cohesion between government and the private sector," the Labour Minister said.
In his remarks, Mr. Samuda encouraged members (of the JCC) “who can employ one more qualified Jamaican to do so, even while being mindful of the enormous pressure which several businesses now operate under."
"I urge not only members of the JCC and parish Chambers, but members of the private sector generally, to come aboard and support this initiative,” he implored.
"If we create only 100 jobs, that will be 100 jobs that did not previously exist and 100 families better off," he reasoned.
He also promised that the JCC will make regular reports on the progress of the project, as "we believe in full transparency and accountability".
The JCC President argued that the agreement was a clear acknowledgement by the private sector that "if we do not hold hands and aid each other, we will not make it through the next several months in which the forced adjustment to real fiscal prudence is going to be both long and painful."