SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - To date 1077 persons and counting continue to benefit from the Emergency Income and Support Training Project (EISTP) of the Sint Maarten Trust Fund. The Program currently benefits one of every four unemployed in the country. The Trust Fund is financed by the government of the Netherlands, managed by the World Bank and implemented by the National Recovery Program Bureau (NRPB).
The EISTP project is operated by the Sint Maarten Training Foundation (SMTF), a Not for Profit institution that was established in December 2017, during a period when the major educational institutions on the island remained severely damaged and or closed. The foundation started an initial program with an objective to provide professional training to improve employability among participants.
In February 2018, a requested NAF 7.4 million subsidy was granted to SMTF by the Government of Sint Maarten to further its program to benefit trainees and enable income support and training. In August 2018, after a positive extensive review of the program and the SMTF by the World Bank, approval was granted by the Steering Committee of the Trust Fund to fully finance the scale up of the pilot program into the Emergency Income and Support Training Project.
The project provides hospitality and construction courses and recently added English as a second language and culture and history courses to the program. SMTF works in collaboration with NIPA and USM to provide such courses. The EISTP project contributes to helping the un and under-employed and has played a critical role in addressing the post-disaster unemployment impact caused by Hurricane Irma and the income loss of the affected households.
The EISTP project follows a detailed Project Operating Manual which specifies procedures and criteria for registration, enrollment, payment of stipends and other processes related to the program. The program is continuously screened by the NRPB to ensure proper use of funding, and is subject to financial audits and a technical verification process to confirm the number of participants.
New student intakes occur on an average of every three months, and registration is ongoig. To continue with the successful implementation of the program, interested eligible persons are invited to visit the labor office at the Government Administration Building to register for the August intake period. Underemployed and unemployed Dutch nationals, documented residents or individuals married to Dutch nationals may register. The program is suitable for individuals that were active on the labor market, currently unemployed or underemplyed and are seeking a further enhancement of skills.
Persons who meet the eligibility criteria above and are enrolled as part of the program are not required to pay for classes but instead will receive benefits in the form of a bi-weekly stipend, SZV medical insurance coverage, transportation allowance and free training materials, if they comply with the minimum attendance rate specified for the program.