Workforce agency doesn't track success

The National Workforce Development Agency, tasked with helping Caymanians find jobs, does not track how many clients get or keep jobs, according to the response from a Freedom of Information Law request.

The new budget, passed late last week by the Legislative Assembly, increases funding for the National Workforce Development Agency from $1 million to more than $1.5 million. During the budget debate, some legislators questioned how effective the agency is.

Most of that new funding, $370,000, goes toward the administering the grants and scholarship program, now combined with the NWDA’s budget.

A Freedom of Information request by the Cayman Compass reveals that the NWDA does not track how many clients get and keep jobs through the placement program. Responding to the request, NWDA’s Dianne Connolly writes, “NWDA is unable to provide information as to long-term and short-term employment placement as this information is neither collected nor is part of the agency’s remit.”

Speaking during the Finance Committee debate on the NWDA budget last week, education and employment minister Tara Rivers said that in April the agency had posted 314 jobs and 48 Caymanians were hired for those positions.

Budget documents show the NWDA expected to have helped 1,200 job seekers in the 2014-2015 fiscal year, which ends on June 30, and to have posted 4,500 job vacancies on its website. The budget indicates that the NWDA expects the number of job seekers to grow to 1,500 to 2,000 in the coming year while it expects the number of vacancies to drop to between 3,500 and 4,000.

The NWDA has two types of clients, people who only use the website to search for jobs and use other resources and training, and “extended” clients who can use the NWDA as an intermediary with employers to help get a job.

The National Job Link Program launched in June 2014. Between June 1, 2014 and April 30, 295 people registered for the Job Seeker Extended program, according to the Freedom of Information response. The NWDA’s Ms. Connolly writes that the agency does not know how many of those clients found jobs.