Minister of Education Ronald Thwaites has endorsed an agreement between the Jamaica Library Service (JLS) and the Ministry of Labour and Social Security (MLSS) to provide the public with access to its Labour Market Information System (LMIS) utilizing public libraries.
According to Minister Thwaites the initiative is a very good use of the Library Service’s island-wide network and its recently acquired communications infrastructure.
“There are many current and emerging opportunities for employment that the widest number of people across Jamaica needs to know about in order for unemployment, particularly among youth, to continue to trend down,” said Minister Thwaites at the February 3 signing ceremony. “The information provided through the Labour Market Information System can help to guide students, and parents in making career decisions,” he added.
The Education Ministry, he said, expects that guidance counselors and teachers to point students to the facilities at the public libraries.
Meanwhile, Minister of Labour and Social Security, Dr Fenton Ferguson, in endorsing the partnership said the initiative is a practical and prudent way to deliver necessary services and programmes to the people of Jamaica.
“I must urge Jamaicans to take advantage of employment opportunities. This partnership with the Jamaica Library Service will, therefore, open the gateway for more Jamaicans to access reliable labour market information,” Dr. Ferguson said. “It will provide the first step towards obtaining the necessary skills needed and to efficiently locate decent jobs.”
He indicated that the partnership manifests the pooling of available resources from the two government entities noting that employees of the libraries will be trained to give guidance on where to locate information on the website and how to register and search for jobs on the LMIS website.
Dr Ferguson said that the MLSS recognized that greater access to the Internet could lead to greater access to employment opportunities. He thanked the JLS for providing the opportunity which will see students, jobseekers and other uses of the libraries accessing the web-based LMIS.
“Through the LMIS database, employers and investors will know where to locate certified and uncertified skills. Policy makers will know where there is an under-supply or over-supply of skills and take corrective actions. The process, therefore, will advance productivity improvement and country competitiveness in the global marketplace.
Since its inception in 2001, the system, which is maintained by the MLSS, has been providing cost effective ways for employers to source and recruit suitable employees, as well as for job seekers to post resumes for possible employment.
To date more than 11,000 job seekers have visited the site, with 520 employers recruiting individuals from the jobs posted. Over 700 jobs have already been posted with 158 of the Programme of Advancement Through Health and Education (PATH) cohort of 1500 having used and are connected to the system.
The Jamaica Library has been providing information, educational and recreational programmes and services through a network of 118 fixed public library locations, 374 mobile library stops and 894 school library networks across the island.
Karen Barton, Director General of the Jamaica Library Service (JLS) said it was fitting that the Inter-American Development Bank found it necessary to partner with the MLSS to connect the labour market with job opportunities.
“This partnership comes at an opportune time especially in an ever expanding digital world. The labour market is changing and various jobs are in demand Barton said. “This partnership recognizes the network that will be created to give persons an opportunity to access job opportunities,”
The Labour Market Intelligence is the third component. This is a combination of current and historical data on the local economy, population and labour market and also includes information on training opportunities for the youth, sources of funding for education, the most frequently advertised jobs, and summaries of labour market research conducted by MLSS.
The LMIS has three components, the Electronic Labour Exchange (ELE), Skills Bank, and the Labour Market Intelligence. The ELE, which is the core component of the LMIS, facilitates the matching of job seekers with employers, and provides both online and offline services to both parties.
The online services include: tips on resume writing, preparing for interview, job search and career counseling. The offline services include: assisting employers to post jobs, interview and shortlist candidates. The second component is the Skills Bank, which is a database of certified Jamaicans, with varying skills.
Minister of Education Ronald Thwaites (centre) accepts from Minister of Labour and Social Security Dr Fenton Ferguson a copy of the signed MOU between the JLS and LMIS. Witnessing the occasion from left are Karen Barton, Director General, JLS; Paul Lalor, Chairman JLS Board; and Colette Roberts Risden, Permanent Secretary, MLSS.