Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller says it is critical for the Government and private sector to work together on finding creative solutions to the problem of unemployment among qualified youth.
Simpson Miller said it was therefore timely that the Jamaica Employ Partnership Agreement between the Ministry of Labour and Social Security and the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce (JCC) - which could see some 40,000 qualified youth gaining employment over time - was being signed yesterday at Jamaica House in St Andrew.
"If every private-sector entity was to employ at least one professional, qualified, unemployed Jamaican, we could put a dent in the level of unemployment in this country," said the prime minister.
Additionally, she stated: "Employment of a single professional by each of these business entities could also accelerate our economic recovery. Such that we would promote growth and boost our culture of productivity to the benefit of all."
Businesses under pressure
In urging the members of the private sector to get on board and, for those who can to employ more than one qualified person, JCC President Milton Samuda said he was mindful that some businesses were under enormous pressure because of the recession and might not be able to do so.
"However, we are also aware of the fact that there are businesses doing well enough to answer the call of the private sector, and that is what the framework which we will be putting in place today is designed to facilitate," Samuda said. Promising full transparency and accountability of the agreement, the JCC president said the nation's best bet to survive the recession, restructure the economy and restructure the social strata to create a more inclusive society, was for all stakeholders to work together.
Derrick Kellier, minister of labour and social security, said Jamaica Employ was the first step in the implementation of the employment initiative proposed by the prime minister after she was sworn in as head of government.
He said the programme would see a more structured information-sharing mechanism between job seekers and prospective employers.