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Youth and Culture Minister, the Hon. Lisa Hanna, says the Government is committed to tackling the problem of high youth unemployment in Jamaica.

She said the estimate of a 32.2 per cent youth unemployment rate at July 2012, is unacceptably high, even when one considers that there has been a slight improvement coming from 34 per cent in April of that year.

The Minister was speaking at the official launch of a resource guidebook, ‘Services for Urban Youth’, on January 15, at the Olympic Gardens Civic Centre in Kingston. The book is produced through the Youth Upliftment Through Education (YUTE) programme, with the assistance of the Culture, Health, Arts, Sports and Education (CHASE) Fund and the National Health Fund (NHF).

The Minster praised the resource guidebook and urged the young people at the launch to keep a copy close by at all times.

“The booklet is a guide to some of the very basic questions that you have on a daily basis…it is a very easy read. It is something that you should keep in your handbag or your school bag or keep with you all the time. It is going to form a part of your everyday living, because it is one of those books like the Bible. It guides you through a number of areas, such as the Taxpayer Registration Number (TRN), National Insurance Scheme (NIS), Fire brigade…how to call a lawyer and it is excellent,” the Minister said.

She said the booklet was prompted by the expressed need for a comprehensive document for the successful transition of young people into the formal society.

“In endorsing the project, I want to commend the YUTE Programme Secretariat, Development Options Limited, the National Health Fund and the CHASE Fund for their support. This is an example about how we can commit to working together for our young people,” the Minister said.

She noted that a number of programmes have been implemented by the government to address the unemployment rate among youth in Jamaica, including the Jamaica Emergency Employment Programme (JEEP).

“The JEEP programme afforded 15,000 jobs created in the first phase and certainly the second phase will target 35,000 persons.