Minister of State in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Hon. Arnaldo Brown, says significant strides have been made in the areas of training and employment in the newly formed East Central St. Catherine constituency, for which he is Member of Parliament (MP).
Making his contribution to the 2012/13 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives, on July 10, Mr. Brown informed that he has been working on a number of initiatives geared toward improving the skill level and employability of the predominantly young people of the area.
The State Minister said that in January, he was able to open the Tent City Seventh-day Adventist Training and Skills Centre, with the assistance of representatives from the church community. He said the facility is up and running with six programmes and 30 students.
"I was also pleased to support the expansion and continuation of the Gregory Park Baptist Church Lifelong Learning Programme, which has been quietly but effectively transforming the lives of adults and young people in Gregory Park and its environs,” he noted.
He informed that there are 40 volunteer teachers who currently offer their services absolutely free at the facility. "It is a model which must be replicated. In fact, I am making a call to all retired teachers to volunteer their services in this area and help us to eradicate illiteracy and innumeracy from our country," he implored.
In the meantime, the State Minister pointed out that under Phase I of the Jamaica Emergency Employment Programme (JEEP), the government was able to employ 700 persons across the East Central St. Catherine constituency.
“We look forward to JEEP Phase II, when we will be able to swell the ranks of the employed across East Central St. Catherine,” he said.
By Athaliah Reynolds-Baker, JIS Reporter