12,800 apply for govt job program
Nearly 13,000 people have applied for the National Job Readiness and Training Program, far exceeding the 3,000 spots set aside for the initiative, Labour and Social Development Minister Dion Foulkes revealed yesterday.
According to Foulkes, 12,800 Bahamians signed up.
That means that 9,800 applicants will be rejected. The registration process started last Monday and ended Friday.
The large turnout of applicants is widely viewed as an indication of the high level of unemployment in the country.
No unemployment numbers have been produced since 2009 when unemployment was more than 14 percent nationally.
The Department of Statistics has promised to soon release the latest figures.
One hundred and fifty businesses have registered to participate in the program as employers, according to Foulkes.
“The implementation committee is processing the applications and working with various business establishments in the placement of potential employees,” said Foulkes in a press statement.
He said the government will give further details at a later date as to when successful applicants will be contacted to start their training and employment.
According to the statement, 8,721 people registered in New Providence; 2,528 in Grand Bahama; 486 in Eleuthera; 359 in Andros; 286 in Abaco; 116 in Exuma; 67 in Inagua; 45 in Long Island; 40 in Cat Island; 37 in Acklins; 32 in San Salvador and Rum Cay; 25 in Bimini; 24 in the Berry Islands; 19 in Mayaguana and 15 in Crooked Island.
The government has set aside $25 million for the program, which has three main components: job readiness, job training and job placement.
The job readiness component is primarily aimed at young unemployed Bahamians 30 years of age and under.
The job training component will provide people over 30 with the opportunity to enhance their skills or gain new skills through study and work placement.
The general job placement component will allow unemployed Bahamians to work in designated industries such as, but not limited to, tourism, financial services and the industrial trades.
The program is designed to prepare unemployed Bahamians for entry into the labor market after they receive 52 weeks of formal on-the-job training and career coaching through structured seminars, Foulkes explained.
The program will also benefit the businesses that take on additional workers, as their salaries will be subsidized by the government for up to $210 per week, government officials have pointed out.