The Trust for the Americas and the Organization of American States (OAS) held an event on July 21st in Kingston, Jamaica to invite private sector leaders to participate in the project A New Path, designed to help at-risk youth.
The project supports young criminals in their emotional, social, educational and economic challenges to reduce recidivism and finally, crime and violence in the country. The organization needs to generate partnerships with private sector organizations that can provide professional skills, job readiness, entrepreneurship training, mentoring, internships or jobs and financial support for young entrepreneurs.
A New Path has received funding from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). In addition, the OAS and the Trust have partnered with the Government of Chile through the National Service for Minors, the Department of Correctional Services and non-governmental organizations in Jamaica to improve rehabilitation services, training in life skills and search of economic opportunities.
The purpose of the event was to launch a campaign called Inclusive Business Strategy that offers memberships for those companies from the private sector who want to join the project and assist in the reintegration of young people into society. The strategy proposes four packages that indicate how to contribute, either through employment, mentoring or financing.
A New Path, which began in March 2015, has benefited many young people in the region. Jevon Smith got a job in a factory in Kingston and now can support himself financially. Also, Kayla Gibson, another beneficiary, received assistance from the National Youth Orchestra, where she learned how to play the clarinet and teamwork.
Linda Eddleman, CEO of the Trust for the Americas, feels very optimistic about the response of the private sector and hopefully they can give these people the opportunities they need to continue their training processes.
“These young people can be the best employees because they really want a chance,” said the Eddleman. “These teenagers are no different from others, they only lived in situations of conflict and vulnerability, but they want a second chance.”
The Minister of State of Jamaica, Senator Pearnel Charles Jr (via video); the Managing Director of the National Commercial Bank, Patrick Hylton; the Chief Executive Officer of the Private Sector Organization of Jamaica, Dennis Chung; the OAS Representative in Jamaica, Jeanelle van Glaanenweygel and the Supervisory Program Officer of USAID in Jamaica, Rebecca Robinson, attended the event.