Some 1,200 unemployed and underemployed youth between the ages of 17 and 34, are set to benefit from a special IDB Lab programme aimed at strengthening economic opportunities and enhancement of their digital, business, and interpersonal skills. Youth will also access job opportunities through highly practical project-based learning and employability skills enabling them to function as independent workers and social entrepreneurs.
“Jamaica has a plethora of talent which needs to be channeled into productive activities. Strengthening the digital and interpersonal skills of unemployed and underemployed youth with low incomes, as well as aligning them with job opportunities and entrepreneurship, will go a far way in easing the frustration which they are currently experiencing,” said Therese Turner-Jones, IDB Jamaica Country Representative and General Manager for the Caribbean Country Department.
Jamaica, which has made great progress and economic reforms in recent years after a long period of instability, has seen the pandemic undermine much of its economic activity and foreign exchange, mainly from tourism. The impact on companies, together with rapid technological advancements have made it challenging for some companies to keep pace and provide the requisite training to their workforce. This has aggravated the socioeconomic risk of young people, exacerbated inequalities, and contributed to higher unemployment.
The programme will be funded with IDB investment of US $800,000 through a non-refundable technical cooperation. It will be executed by the non-profit entity, The Trust for the Americas, which, in association with Microsoft, Citi and NCB Foundations, will invest more than US $1,000,000 in financial and in-kind resources.
“We are specially targeting vulnerable communities. Women are undergoing severe challenges and hardship in the wake of the pandemic. We are working to have at least 50 % young women become beneficiaries under the programme,” explained Turner-Jones.
The programme aims to increase the productivity of SMEs and the sectors that present the greatest challenges and opportunities for innovation. These include tourism, manufacturing, and food processing.
The program will also assist youth with career guidance and preparation services for interviews, self-employment as well as entrepreneurship support such as mentorship. Job placement services will connect beneficiaries with small and medium-sized enterprises. It is expected that the project will be replicated in other Caribbean countries.
About IDB Lab
IDB Lab is the innovation laboratory of the IDB Group, the leading source of development finance and know-how for improving lives in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC). The purpose of IDB Lab is to drive innovation for inclusion in the region, by mobilizing financing, knowledge, and connections to co-create solutions capable of transforming the lives of vulnerable populations affected by economic, social, or environmental factors. Since 1993, IDB Lab has approved over US$2 billion in projects across 26 countries in LAC. www.bidlab.org
About The Trust for the Americas
The Trust for the Americas is non-profit organization, affiliated with the Organization of American States (OAS), established in 1997 to promote public-private partnerships. The Trust has implemented projects in 24 countries and has worked with more than 1,000 organizations in the region. Our initiatives seek to promote educational and economic opportunities, as well as government accountability, and transparency. Our unique alliance with the OAS allows us to have access to decision markers within the region. This fundamental partnership is the foundation through which we build strong networks in all members states and in the private sector. Through the development of our region, The Trust continues to contribute to overcoming challenges through strategic alliances that promote cooperation for sustainable results. Thetrustfortheamericas.org