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USVI struggles to boost Workforce Development Programmes

Despite being offered free of charge, workforce development programmes in the US Virgin Islands struggle to attract participants, prompting lawmakers to seek solutions. Photo: VIC

FREDERIKSTED, St Croix, USVI- Amidst ongoing efforts to enhance workforce development in the US Virgin Islands (USVI), the Committee on Education and Workforce Development convened to address the challenges faced by these initiatives. Despite being offered free of charge, the programs struggle to attract participants, prompting lawmakers to seek solutions.

Senator Dwyane M. DeGraff expressed his concerns, stating, “It doesn't seem like there is a workforce development problem in the territory… but then we also hear contrary.” He questioned why local youth were not taking advantage of these opportunities, suggesting that improved outreach might be key.

Commissioner of the Department of Labor, Gary Malloy, echoed these sentiments, emphasizing the department's focus on outreach, particularly in housing developments. However, the issue of attracting participants remains complex, with Senator Franklin Johnson pointing out the younger generation's desire for immediate financial incentives.

Highlighting a significant setback, Joann Murphy, chair of the Virgin Islands Career and Technical Institute, lamented the discontinuation of a legislative stipend fund that provided financial support to students in on-the-job training. She appealed to the lawmakers to reinstate the $30,000 allocation to each secondary school, which is part of a broader effort to raise $250,000 for the Lena Schulterbrandt fund. This fund aims to offer stipends to journeymen students, thereby bridging the existing gap in practical training.

Senator Marvin A. Blyden, while not committing to funding the journeyman program, acknowledged the importance of having established journeymen in the territory and discussed introducing legislation to support this. In the interim, he urged for better collaboration among workforce development providers to ensure cohesive efforts and minimize redundancy.

2 Responses to “USVI struggles to boost Workforce Development Programmes”

  • Lord 0. (19/11/2023, 15:41) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    They are no better off than the bvi
  • Native Tongue (20/11/2023, 07:28) Like (0) Dislike (1) Reply
    Lots of Word play...The semántics make it look like they talking real talk but tap dancing around the issues. The young people are flat out lady.

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