SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) – The Emergency Income Support and Training Program (EISTP) has trained 1077 residents and has issued 1241 certifications since its commencement in February 2018. Minister Lee cheered the success of the program which is managed by the Sint Maarten Training Foundation, stating that these results not only showcase personal growth but subsequently better opportunities for the participants, and an overall better Sint Maarten product which helps our economy to grow and decreases the demand for foreign workers. The program will be extended to 2020, offering training to unemployed and underemployed until June 30th, 2020.
“This program is a prime example of excellent cooperation between the private sector and Government. The project is a role model for disaster recovery. As we continue to evaluate the program, we believe it is a good project that other countries can use as a model for disaster recovery. We have done so much work on the development of this program that if needed, the lead time to implement it again would be much shorter.”
The project aims to improve the employability of those unemployed and underemployed while strengthening the social protection system’s capacity for shock-response and protection of the poor. The program currently offers training in construction, hospitality, first aid, culinary arts, and casino tech. The Sint Maarten Training Foundation and the University of St. Maarten (USM) have come to an agreement whereas of May 20th the USM has started delivering training in English as a second language and as of June, culture and history will be added to the program as well.
Since the launch in 2018, the program has achieved a 93% success rate. A total of 1077 individuals were trained out of the target number of 1155 for 2018. As it relates to certification, 448 students were certified in hospitality, 98 in culinary arts, 85 in construction, 214 in first aid, 345 in customer service and 51 in Casino technical. It is important to note that students can choose to do multiple modules and be certified in multiple modules, hence the total number of certificates issued has been 1241.
The success of the program is widely celebrated. For the construction students, 90% have found jobs after the training and the majority of those who were underemployed and trained in the hospitality sector, have returned to work within their company. The feedback from the employers speaks to an increase in customer satisfaction after trained staff returned to the companies. Additionally, it is also reported that there is a change in the attitude of the trained staff, and they are better positioned for promotion within the company, some of which have actually received promotions.
The program runs until June 30th, 2020, and all interested unemployed or underemployed (3 days of work or less) are welcomed. Enrolled students receive stipends and health insurance. For more information on the available opportunities or the courses, contact the Sint Maarten Training Foundation, on 520 -7574, or directly sign up via the Labour Affairs Office.