Jamaican government optimistic that jobs to be created in US will spill over to Jamaican workers

KINGSTON, Jamaica – Amidst the global economic downturn, the Jamaican Government is optimistic that some of the expected 2.5 million jobs to be created by President-elect of the United States of America (USA), Barrack Obama, will spill over and create opportunities for the Jamaican workforce.

This was noted by Minister of Labour and Social Security, Pearnel Charles, in an interview with JIS News.

He informed that the Government would be investing in training, in order to prepare persons to take up jobs when they are made available.

“Over there (United States of America), the President-elect is looking to put 2.5 million workers back to work, and we expect that will create some jobs that we will get,” he said, adding that the Government would be “certifying, training and getting ready for an assault on some of these jobs.”

The Minister also pointed out that the Labour Ministry is currently negotiating with representatives of the United States Congress, to reinstate that country’s annual quota of employing 66,000 overseas workers. According to the Minister, this would significantly help the nearly 11,000 unskilled workers who are currently unemployed in Jamaica.

He said that while there are no signs that the US would want the kind of agricultural workers that Jamaica would provide, more often than not, the US is usually unable to sufficiently meet the requisite number needed for its workforce.

“We haven’t had any signs that the Americans would want the kind of agricultural work that the Jamaicans or other Caribbean island workers are doing, like picking apples. But, like everywhere else, when things get tough, people may go for other jobs. We get these jobs, because the Americans cannot fill these jobs in their workforce or don’t have the workforce to work in these areas. So, we are optimistic that as things turn around in the United States, there will be a greater demand for workers,” the Minister said.

The New York Times on Saturday, November 22, 2008, quoted President-elect Obama as saying that by 2011, his administration would create 2.5 million new jobs.

“There are no quick or easy fixes to this crisis, which has been many years in the making, and it’s likely to get worse before it gets better,” he said.

Mr. Obama said he had directed his economic team, “to come up with an Economic Recovery Plan that will mean 2.5 million more jobs by January of 2011.”

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