JIS News

A Welfare to Work Programme to take persons off welfare and place them in jobs or enable them to open their own business, will be introduced this financial year.
The initiative is for beneficiaries of the Programme for Advancement Through Health and Education (PATH), the Government’s main social assistance programme.This announcement was made on (May 30), by Minister of Labour and Social Security, Derrick Kellier, at a public meeting held at the Mona Baptist Church in Papine, Kingston.
The event, dubbed ‘Bridging the Gap’ and organized by the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, is one in a series of meetings being held islandwide to inform persons about PATH and how they can access the services. Similar meetings are being held in other parishes.
“The details of the programme are currently being finalized with the Planning Institute of Jamaica and a pilot project will commence later on during the course of this financial year,” the Minister said.
He explained that the programme would not only serve as an “exit strategy for beneficiaries, but it will also seek to empower poor families and the youth in the fight against poverty.”
Additionally, Mr. Kellier said beneficiaries who could work would attend training programmes before job placement.
“We are not sending you out there to flounder. We will be giving you the necessary training that is required, so you can be employed,” he said.
The Minister noted that the government has spent some $4.3 billion on the PATH programme since its inception in 2002. This amount, he said, would increase to approximately $5.9 billion by the end of this financial year, when an additional $1.6 billion would have been spent.
According to the Minister, more than 230,000 persons are currently benefiting from the programme, noting that the amount represented just about 60 per cent of Jamaican families living below the poverty line.
Agencies participating in the event were the National Insurance Scheme, the National Council for Senior Citizens, the Child Development Agency, the HEART Trust/NTA, the Registrar General’s Department, and other Non-Governmental Organisations.

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