COCI signs cooperation MOU with Labour Affairs Department

PHILIPSBURG–The Department of Labour Affairs and Social Services and the St. Maarten Chamber of Commerce and Industry (COCI) on Tuesday, June 21, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to facilitate open lines of communication and cooperation between the two entities.

Department Head Peggy-Ann Dros-Richardson said the MOU represents a significant milestone for the department. Under the MOU, the two entities will be sharing information; collaborating for a National Job Fair; offering training opportunities for unemployed persons with COCI and membership; sharing of best practices; organising a panel discussion on recruitment and hiring practices in private sector and broader-based initiatives on job creation and economic stimulus programmes.

The Department’s Labour Market section is responsible for matching suitable persons to vacancies available in the job market. “This is a daunting feat as often times the Department is faced with persons who are not immediately ready to be placed in the job market for various reasons such as low educational levels and lack of proper training and experience,” Dros-Richardson said in a press release on Monday.

“In addition to this challenge, the Department also lacks proper insight into the specific needs and expectations of the business community.”

She said the Department took note of a “missing link” between the supply and demand since its implementation of the Social Economic Initiative Employability Through Training Project (SEI-ETTP). This project, implemented from 2010-2014, was aimed at getting persons who were unemployed re-assimilated into the work force. However, there always seemed to be a mismatch between the employment demands of the business community and the supply of job seekers, the department head said.

The Department and COCI agreed that this partnership is a “step in the right direction” towards working together to ensure that vacancies within the local job market are filled by persons who are adequately equipped.

COCI President Peggy-Ann Brandon said the collaboration and cooperation between the two entities “will allow us to redress socio-economic issues and simultaneously promote socio-economic development within the country. Understanding our labour market and our industries allows us to successfully pair them. This is where economic growth starts.”

Dros-Richardson: “It represents a logical next step for this Department and by extension for the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour… Above all else, and above all the products and services offered by the Department, the most challenging and yet the most rewarding remains the placement of suitable persons in the local labour market. To this end, the MOU signed with the COCI has established the way forward for these two entities with a deliberate commitment by both to positively affect the labour market and its dynamics.”

“The Department of Labour Affairs and Social Services has long been a proponent of collaboration and recognises that positive lasting outcomes for the benefit of the people can only come through building a strong network,” the release said.

The Department thanked the COCI board and its President for partnering with the department.

Source: Daily Herald
COCI signs cooperation MOU with Labour Affairs Department