Sat | Aug 19, 2017

Matalon seeks support for Jamaican YUTE in Washington, DC

Published:Thursday | February 23, 2017 | 2:00 AM
Jamaica’s Ambassador to the United States Audrey Marks has the attention of (from left) Christopher Hunt, chairperson of the David ‘Wagga’ Hunt Scholarship Foundation; Gary Hamilton, principal, Smith Group JRR; and Joseph Matalon, chairman of Youth Upliftment Through Employment (YUTE), during a dinner hosted by the ambassador at the official residence.

Chairman of the Youth Upliftment Through Employment (YUTE) programme, Joseph Matalon, is calling for business executives in the diaspora in the United States (US) to support the programme, aimed at rescuing some of Jamaica's less fortunate, in particular, among the young people living in the inner-city communities.

Matalon was visiting the US to meet with members of the diaspora to seek support for the YUTE initiative, which has, among other things, provided tangible benefits for more than 2,000 at-risk youth since its inception in 2010.

The Youth Upliftment Through Employment programme was conceptualised and developed by the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica in 2010 following the joint military and police incursion in Tivoli Gardens that brought the country to a standstill.

The first stop for Matalon was to Washington, DC, where Jamaica's Ambassador to the United States, Audrey Marks, hosted a dinner at the official residence, with influential Jamaican-American business leaders from the DC Metropolitan Area. The opportunity was used to inform the group about the work being done by YUTE, as well as to seek feedback to and insight into possibilities for collaboration and assistance.

He told the wide cross section of leaders of business executives that violent crime in Jamaica was largely attributed to the youth, over 25 per cent of whom are unemployed. He said that there was a direct correlation between unemployment and crime, which, he noted, was costing Jamaica approximately $63.2 billion, or three per cent of the country's GDP.

 

PROGRAMME AIMS

 

YUTE aims to improve the numeracy, literacy, technical, employability, and social skills of young, unattached, and vulnerable people living in inner-city communities.

Since its inception, more than 2,000 young people have successfully participated in the programme.

This year, YUTE will also merge with The MultiCare Foundation, another charitable organisation supported by the ICD Group, which provides enrichment programmes in sports and the visual and performing arts across 32 inner-city schools in Kingston.

He said that the programme aims to increase job opportunities for 10,000 poor, vulnerable, and low-income young people in the 17-29 age group, 50 per cent of whom must be women. This he aims to do by broadening the quality and relevance of training programmes and employment systems for vulnerable young people in the country.