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Alternatives to the Job Creation Act


Dear Source:
While I think the attempt to create an Emergency Job Creation Act is based on the thought of creating more jobs for the people of the Virgin Islands, the Government has to be careful about how the Act is defined.
If a company only needs 200 people to operate it and is being forced to hire 400, this creates the company to have an overhead burden it did not expect or need. For any company to have an overhead it does not need to operate means, it would not be able to maintain providing lower or equal electrical costs to consumers as a whole. Forcing a company to double its overhead unnecessarily would cut its profits in half right from the start. To do that would stop companies from coming in. They have to be able to maintain their profits in order to provide viable costs to consumers too.
I do not think any company should be forced into hiring overhead that they do not need to operate with. I do however think that there should be a stipulation in the Act that states companies coming into the Virgin Islands are required to offer in-depth training to the local people at all levels with-in the company. Many companies in the past have brought in their own management for upper level positions. While that may be necessary at first because in some cases the required skill levels are non-existent in the Virgin Islands, it should not remain that way. If companies were given a stipulation that stated that by the end of two years they be able to show they did provide in-depth training to locals and were able to move locals into all levels of positions, I think that would be a better option.
In addition to in-depth trainings, some companies in the states offer to pay for education for employees that pursue higher education that ultimately becomes a plus to the company. If the company had positions that required higher educated backgrounds and was willing to work with locals in this area in order that they can be able to fill higher position that required specialized degree skills, that would be a better option to go with. Some positions in certain types of companies will require higher education in specialized fields.
While the people of the Virgin Islands do need more jobs, the jobs need to become jobs that can in fact boost earning levels. We need jobs that can offer trainings, can offer assistance with higher education for their employees. Many people do not have the resources to obtain higher education on their own due to the inability to afford it. If companies were willing to work with employees on these levels it would benefit both the company and benefit boosting the skill levels of locals.
If companies are willing to work with the population in this aspect there would have to be some protection level in place. If a company is willing to assist an employee with a 2 or 4-year degree pursuit of higher education, then the employee should be required to work for the company for a "certain time frame" as compensation back to the company for assisting with the higher education. Protection would have to be in place for the employee also. Once the skill levels have been met, the company should rightfully compensate via payroll at that level. Something should be put in place to monitor that companies who are willing to work with the population in this avenue. It should be monitored on a regular basis to show they are in fact providing in-depth trainings and also did provide assistance to employees willing to go beyond the in-depth company trainings to gain degreed skills.
Ultimately what the Virgin Islands really needs is locals to have avenues to acquire higher skills, become more educated and have higher earnings potential. That is the key factor that will most benefit our community as a whole in the long run. The more locals that acquire higher skills, the better off we will be as a whole community.
I think this alternative should be considered not only for this Act but should also be a requirement of all EDC companies.
Carol Berry
St. Thomas

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