The government today launched its Housing, Opportunities, Production and Employment Programme, HOPE, geared at improving the social prospects of Jamaicans.

It was launched at the Office of the Prime Minister in St. Andrew.

The government believes it will improve the social outcomes of Jamaicans by plugging a critical gap in youth development.

HOPE was announced last year as a replacement for the Jamaica Emergency Employment Programme (JEEP).

At today’s launch, Prime Minister Andrew Holness says HOPE will engage youth aged 18 to 24 in meaningful work to boost government efficiency.

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Its predecessor JEEP –launched in 2012 — was the brainchild of former Prime Minister, Portia Simpson Miller.

It was mandated with providing employment for Jamaicans while improving the infrastructure and social amenities of the country. But Mr. Holness says his HOPE is not another emergency employment programme.

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He says it will fill a critical gap to capture over 130,000 of the country’s unattached youth aged 18 to 24.

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The government has seconded Jamaica Defence Force Lieutenant Colonel, Martin Rickman, as the programme’s National Coordinator.

Colonel Rickman previously served as head of the Citizen Security and Justice Programme, CSJP.

HOPE, in its first year, is expected to help some 15-thousand young people.