A government jobs program that pays private sector companies to “take a chance” on hiring unemployed Caymanians has nearly three dozen participants, Premier Alden McLaughlin said this week.
The Ready-2-Work program has 33 “active participants in various phases of the program,” Mr. McLaughlin announced in his budget policy address on Monday.
The program will receive $2.3 million in the upcoming 18-month government budget and has a goal of placing 175 people in jobs by February 2017, Mr. McLaughlin said.
“The results so far have been promising,” the premier said. “We believe that the best social program is a good job. For some, the Ready-2-Work program will be their best chance to regain and keep employment.”
The program was announced at the beginning of this year as a partnership between private sector employers and government. About $1.7 million was earmarked in the current government budget, which ends on June 30, for the job placements.
The idea with Ready-2-Work is that government pays for a certain period of the person’s employment, up to a maximum of six months. Mr. McLaughlin said this gives the prospective employee on-the-job skills and training opportunities during the period so that they will be ready to take the job full-time at the end of the period.
Government also provides some human resources assistance for placements and job counseling services, Mr. McLaughlin said.
“What we are trying to do is minimize the financial risk for the businesses and build a support system so if John Brown doesn’t show up at work, it is the project coordinator’s responsibility to find out what is going wrong and to get him through what is preventing him from working,” Mr. McLaughlin said in January. “There will be different levels of effort and intervention required with each individual.”
Mr. McLaughlin has noted that the local business community has often expressed concerns about hiring people registered with government’s National Workforce Development agency who do not work out immediately.
“Individuals who are feeling down and out may not always present their best efforts in the workplace, which can be a hindrance to getting, as well as keeping, employment,” Mr. McLaughlin said in his budget address Monday. “Many times, all they need is someone to talk to, someone they can trust, someone who can provide the proper guidance and reassurance.”
The approach proposed by the Ready-2-Work program has not yet been tried in Cayman, but Mr. McLaughlin characterized it as a commitment by government to ensure that “every willing and able Caymanian without a job has access to one.”