Two teens registered under the government’s Youth Employment Services (YES) programme – Chemoia Hodge and Kadeon Potter – this week appealed for entrepreneurs to throw their support behind YES and help find jobs for young people in the territory.
Of the 181 youths registered under YES, 68 are still unemployed, according to Coordinator of the programme Rochelle Lawrence.
The job-seeking initiative caters to persons between the ages of 15 and 29.
The first call for more support came from Potter, a recent graduate of the H Lavity Stoutt Community College (HLSCC), who has secured employment with the Water and Sewerage Department through YES.
“What I thought would only be a few months of work at the department turned into my contract being further extended because of my hard work and diligence on the job. I will be a full-time employee at the end of the month,” he told an audience of predominantly young people at a job fair hosted this week by YES. Potter enrolled in the YES programme last November.
While thanking the companies that already have teamed up with YES, the 19-year-old further said: “I also encourage other businesses to partner with YES to provide other young people with job opportunities.”
A similar appeal came from a YES new-comer, Hodge, who is approaching her final year at HLSCC. “Other companies that have not signed on to become YES employers, the young people of the Virgin Islands are depending on you, and all we need is a chance to be able to prove ourselves,” she said.
Hodge joined YES roughly three weeks ago.
“We are appealing to you [business owners] to give us the opportunity to prove that we are capable and [that we] possess the skill-set and discipline to get the job done. We are willing to assist in the development of your business. Give us a chance,” Hodge further said.
She, like Potter, encouraged young job seekers to put their best foot forward when they become employed.
“Make good use of the investment that has been made in our development,” Hodge advised. “As we are given various employment opportunities – participants, I am encouraging you to give it 100 percent of you effort.”
Roughly 25 businesses already have signed on to the YES programme.