JIS News

Ministry of Labour and Social Security will have an islandwide roll out of the national welfare to work strategy, the Steps-to-Work programme, within the next two months.

Portfolio Minister, Hon. Derrick Kellier, in his Sectoral Debate presentation on June 4, informed that his Ministry has completed the pilot intervention and is now in the final stages of designing a strategy for its implementation by August 2013.

“Steps-to-Work will continue to target working age members of families on PATH (Programme of Advancement Through Health and Education) to provide them with training and on-the-job experience to enable them to seek and retain employment,” he informed.

Minister Kellier also disclosed that the Ministry has begun the process of re-certifying the approximately 38,000 families on PATH islandwide. The process began in March this year and to date, over 10,000 families have been assessed.

He explained that the field exercise is to be completed by July 2013, after which the data will be analysed to inform the exit strategy for eligible PATH families.

“The defined mission of the strategy is self-help within a supportive environment. As such, an important element of the discussion is defining mechanisms for welfare households to be empowered to work and earn their way out of poverty,” he stated.

This means that all families selected for graduation from PATH, including those deemed eligible by the results of the recertification exercise, will be empowered to meet their basic needs and have the means for income security, Minister Kellier said.

He explained that through assistance from the World Bank, the Ministry and the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ) have already begun to craft the critical elements of the strategy. This exercise is to be completed by the end of July.

Contact: Andrea Braham