Digital Jam 2.0 creates 4,000 online jobs for young Jamaicans

WASHINGTON D.C., United States, Thursday April 25, 2013 – The World Bank says a ground-breaking initiative has created thousands of jobs for young Jamaicans in the virtual global economy.

On Wednesday, the Washington-based financial institution announced that Digital Jam 2.0 – a digital job and market fair, has created employment for over 4,000 young people on online platforms. It has also established funds to support start-ups in the app economy and the commercialization of apps.

In addition, the World Bank said Digital Jam 2.0 has created several internships with leading Caribbean telecom companies, ensured offers of scholarships for winners to a Master’s program at Howard University in Washington, and created mentorship programs from national and international companies operating in the Information Technology sphere.

The World Bank noted that Jamaica has about 800,000 young people between the ages of 12 and 35, about 34 percent of the population.

In the coming years, it said job creation will not come from traditional sectors, such as agriculture, tourism and manufacturing, due to competitiveness disadvantages vis-à-vis other countries due to issues of scale, the country’s insular nature, the high cost of energy and high levels of crime and violence, among other issues.

The bank said previous approaches to solving the unemployment problem have concentrated on skills development, but vocational education training programs have reported limited success.

The bank noted that due to Jamaica’s fragile economy, the country is forced to look at solutions outside of the box to handle the  pressing problem of youth unemployment.

“Digital Jam 2.0 promoted solutions to high youth unemployment in Jamaica with new opportunities in the global virtual economy, microwork and e-lancing, and the booming “app economy.”

Digital Jam 2.0 was launched in June 2012 and saw the participation of 2,000 young Jamaicans in a series of competitions enabling young Jamaicas to showcase the capacity, talent and commitment necessary to be “game changers” for the economy and drivers of a knowledge-based society. (CMC) Click here to receive free news bulletins via email from Caribbean360. (View sample)