She said that the support, which will be made available through the Universal Service Fund (USF), will be geared towards persons who seek to solve real-life problems through technology.
“The initiative will be executed in collaboration with ICT experts in the private and public sectors as well as civil society and other stakeholders,” she noted.
“Together, they will ensure that the solutions provided are realistic and can be executed with the resources readily available,” she added.
Mrs. Williams was speaking at the closing ceremony for the Universal Service Fund’s (USF) Technology Advancement Programme (TAP) at the Jamaica Conference Centre in downtown Kingston on Thursday (April 11).
TAP exposed unattached youth to the power of technology and sought to unearth their potential through skills training and work experience.
“TAP is yet another step in the Government’s journey towards ensuring that Jamaica becomes a knowledge-based society that closes the information gap,” Mrs. Williams noted.
She stressed that it is important to bridge the information divide in order to “unlock a world of opportunities for our citizens from all walks of life”.
Chief Executive Officer of USF, Daniel Dawes, noted that TAP “provided a lifeline for young persons, many of whom were not working and are now trained and gainfully employed”.
He said that the USF will be offering scholarships in the area of ICT to young people who are “academically inclined and demonstrate a commitment to national development”.
Under TAP, 890 unattached youth, aged 18 to 35, were trained and placed at 45 institutions within the private and public sectors to conduct digitisation or data collection.
The training was delivered by the Caribbean Maritime University (CMU) over 12 months, and exposed the participants to data-collection methods, some aspects of data analysis and the fundamentals of ICT, among others.
The USF is an agency under the Ministry of Science, Energy and Technology and is mandated to ensure access to ICT tools to facilitate development.
The agency has invested more than $7 billion in infrastructure, devices and programmes, including the upgrading of ICT infrastructure at tertiary institutions, public health facilities and libraries; and the establishment of seven free public Wi-Fi spots islandwide.
In addition, the USF investment has created a network of 300 community access points in underserved communities across Jamaica.
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