WASHINGTON, DC – Chairman of Jamaica’s Youth Upliftment Through Employment Programme (YUTE), Mr. Joseph Matalon has called on business executives in the Diaspora, in the United States, to support the programme, aimed at rescuing some of Jamaica’s less fortunate, in particular among the young people living in the inner city communities.
Mr. Matalon is visiting the United States to meet with members of the Diaspora to seek support for the YUTE initiative which has among other things, provided tangible benefit for over 2000 at risk youths since its inception in 2010.
The Youth Upliftment Through Employment (YUTE) Programme was conceptualized and developed by the Private Sector Organization of Jamaica in 2010 following the joint military and police incursion in Tivoli Gardens that brought the country to a standstill.
The first stop for Mr. Matalon was to the U.S. Capitol, where Jamaica’s Ambassador to the United States of America, Her Excellency Audrey Marks hosted a dinner at the Official Residence, with influential Jamaican American business leaders from the D.C Metropolitan Area.
The opportunity was used to inform the group about the work being done by the YUTE, as well as to seek feedback and insight as to possibilities for collaboration and assistance.
He told the wide cross section of leaders of business executives that violent crime in Jamaica was largely attributed to the youth, over 25% of which are unemployed. He said there was a direct correlation between unemployment and crime, which he noted was costing Jamaica approximately $63.2 billion dollars or, 3% of the country’s GDP.
YUTE aims to improve the numeracy, literacy, technical, employability and social skills of young, unattached and vulnerable people living in inner city communities.
Since its inception over 2000 young people have successfully participated in the programme.
This year, YUTE will also merge with The MultiCare Foundation, another charitable organization supported by ICD Group, which provides enrichment programmes in Sports and the Visual and Performing Arts across 32 inner-city schools in Kingston.
He said the programme aims to increase job opportunities for 10,000 poor, vulnerable and low-income young people in the 17-29 age group, 50% of which must be women. This he aims to do by broadening the quality and relevance of training programmes and employment systems for vulnerable young people in the country.
Mr. Matalon told the business leaders that the project needs to raise US$100,000 over the next year to support stipends and other important components of the project that are not included in an Inter American Development Bank (IDB) grant which was accessed to assist other aspects of the programme.
“We need at least 100 Jamaican companies to agree to hire these young people as interns. We are engaging well-meaning Jamaicans in the Diaspora to make personal cash donations as well as assist with critical linkages to Jamaican organizations alumni groups, community groups, clubs which can assist with more wide scale fundraising efforts,” Matalon explained.
In her remarks, the Ambassador used the opportunity to commend Mr. Matalon and his organization for the tremendous work being done to assist at-risk-youth in Jamaica.
In underscoring the critical importance of this particular issue to Jamaica’s socio-economic development, Ambassador called on the members of the Diaspora to provide support for this very worthwhile initiative. She also used the opportunity to reiterate the full support of the Embassy going forward.