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JAMAICA | High Demand for Jamaican Workers in Michigan Hospitality Sector

Featured Minister of Labour and Social Security, Hon. Shahine Robinson, addresses Jamaican hotel workers at the Grand Traverse Hotel in Traverse City, Michigan. | Derrick Scott Photo Minister of Labour and Social Security, Hon. Shahine Robinson, addresses Jamaican hotel workers at the Grand Traverse Hotel in Traverse City, Michigan. | Derrick Scott Photo
MICHIGAN July 17 -  Minister of Labour and Social Security, Shahine Robinson, says as a result of their their exemplary work ethic, there is a high demand for Jamaican workers in the hospitality industry in the state of Michigan in the United States.

Minister Robinson made her comments as she toured Michigan hospitality establishments hosting Jamaican workers.

Addressing more than 200 Jamaican workers at the Grand Traverse Hotel, in Traverse City, as part of her July 14-19 official visit – her first to Michigan as minister – Robinson explained that she was in the Great Lakes State on her annual visit to get a first-hand view of how the programme was working.

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Labour and Social Security Minister Shahine Robinson (centre) greets Patricia Patterson-Brown, who has been in the Ministry’s hotel work for 17 years. Looking on from left to right: JCLO Chief Laison Officer Methelina Scarlett-Jones; Evette McLeod; Keshien Blair; Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Labour, Mrs. Collette Roberts Risden; and JCLO Liaison Officer for Michigan Gladstone Moore.| Derrick Scott Photo.  

She said her visit also serves to reconnect with US legislators, employers, and Jamaican workers in an effort to grow the programme and expand the services. The programme has been in operation for 76 years.

Minister Robinson further explained that because hoteliers have been eagerly requesting more Jamaicans, her Ministry was now in talks with the US authorities with a view to expanding the programme.

She added that the more than 475 Jamaican workers accounted for at least 50 per cent of the hospitality labor force in Traverse City, Mackinaw City and Mackinac Island.

She further noted that the feedback received from the meetings with employers and workers regarding the success of the programme or areas requiring improvement are all valuable to the strategic growth plan.

“The Government of Jamaica views the programme as very vital,” she told the workers, reiterating how important the Ministry’s overseas work programme was to Jamaica and the economy, as well as to the employees and the US employers. She urged the workers to keep the Jamaican flag flying high as ambassadors of their country.

A unique seasonal tourist resort destination, the State of Michigan utilizes Jamaican workers from April to the first week in November each year. The last time a Jamaican ministerial delegation visited, it was led by former Prime Minister Portia Miller-Simpson, twenty years ago when she was the Minister of Labour.

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Labour and Security Minister Shahine Robinson engages three of the Jamaican hotel workers at the Grand Traverse Hotel. From left to right: Andrelyn West, Pretrenia Vassell, and Patricia Coke.|Derrick Scott Photo.

On Monday, the Minister visited and met with employees and employers of the Grand Traverse Hotel; then on Tuesday, visited Mackinac City and met with over 120 workers at the Best Western Dockside Hotel; and on Wednesday, she visited Mackinac Island and met with some 80 workers, and with management and senior staff.

On Thursday, Minister Robinson is scheduled for a town hall meeting with Jamaican workers, and the Mackinac Mayor Margaret Dodd is expected to be in attendance as well.

She is scheduled to visit Mission Point Hotel and Bay View Hotel. Minister Robinson and her delegation leave Michigan on Friday, July 19.

Accompanying the minister on this mission  are Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, Mrs. Collette Roberts Risden; Advisor to the Minister, Mrs. Beatrice Rhoden; administrator in the Overseas Work Programme, Ms. Lorna Young; Chief Liaison Officer for the Jamaica Central Labour Organisation (JCLO), based in Washington, D.C.Mrs. Methelina Scarlett-Jones; and  JCLO Liaison Officer for Michigan Mr. Gladstone Moore.

Last modified onThursday, 18 July 2019 09:34
  • Countries: Jamaica
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