In 2013, the Public Entity Saba (PES) initiated the Employment Opportunity Saba (EOS) program meant to provide young Sabans who struggle to enter the labor market, an opportunity to work at an organization or company in the regular labor market through wage subsidies. The ultimate aim of the program is to reduce the distance to the labor market towards increased sustainable employment.
Since its initiation, dozens of participants have been able to work in a regular working environment after which some participants also found permanent employment. As of May 2016, the PES and Saba Reach Foundation (SRF) have agreed to embed the program within SRF, given the foundation’s experience and expertise in working with individuals with similar difficulties. After initial restructuring, SRF reports that the first four participants have started their new jobs.
Latoya Charles, Director of SRF:”The mission of SRF is to facilitate sustainable employment and participation for residents of Saba with a distance to the labor market. SRF also manages the Social Workplace at the Organoponics Garden for individuals in need of a sheltered working environment and the Youth Opportunity Path or SKJ program for young people who exited their secondary school education without a start qualification. organized under the same umbrella, these three programs serve to strengthen each other by offering at-risk participants different social opportunities and trajectories to choose from based on their preferences and needs”.
During the initial transfer to SRF, the program was closely evaluated and the basis of the program remains the same. Employers receive a one-year wage subsidy for hiring an EOS participant, and commit to the intention to offer the participant a second one-year contract based on positive performance appraisals. EOS participants and employers are supported by SRF’s Employment Facilitator toward desired outcomes. “The renewed program is proving its usefulness. Almost all places are filled and participants value their extra guidance”, stated SRF Employment Facilitator Chanita Toelsie. “Only people with a distance to the labor market indicated by certain criteria are eligible to join the program and receive wage subsidies. SRF is closely and objectively screening the target group in order to prevent a distortion of the regular labor market.”
The program itself will be evaluated semi-annually by the PES on the basis of pre-established standards. The results of the program will be announced annually in the foundation’s annual activity report.
Press release Public Entity of Saba