About Sint Maarten Training Foundation (SMTF)
The Sint Maarten Training Foundation (SMTF) was established in December 2017 in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma to assist hospitality workers who had lost their jobs due to the closure of most hotel properties on the Caribbean island of Sint Maarten.
It was estimated that it would take approximately five years for the destination’s economic activity to return to pre-hurricane Irma levels providing the absence of other natural disasters in the interim. It was imperative to use this time wisely and SMTF’s founding team was committed to enhancing the lives of its staff and other hospitality workers in the destination.
The objective was simple: prevent layoffs and make productive use of the rebuilding period by providing training and education to improve service standards while also giving an opportunity for employees to earn income while honing their hospitality skills, or learn new ones.
The program's design and start-up funds were initially provided by SMTF's founding members, The Maho Group and Sunwing Travel Group. In 2018, the Government of Sint Maarten subsidized the program for approximately six months, and SMTF adopted an official name of, Emergency Income Support and Training Program (EISTP).
After the Sint Maarten Recovery, Reconstruction and Resilience Trust Fund (also known as The Trust Fund) was established, EISTP received financing from the Trust Fund, which is financed by the Government of the Netherlands, managed by the World Bank and implemented by the National Recovery Program Bureau (NRPB).
Although the EISTP was originally designed for hospitality industry workers, its success and effectiveness has made it an attractive alternative for all unemployed and underemployed, and therefore, many programs have been added by major stakeholders including a Construction Training Program.
The EISTP is the only social program on Sint Maarten to provide financial support directly to the participants in the form of a biweekly stipend, medical insurance and a small transportation allowance. The EISTP program has provided direct income support to over 1,000 persons since its inception and aims to assist another 600 by the end of this year.
HOW TO ENROLL
To participate in the EISTP, you need to sign up at the Labor Department.
Eligibility criteria to participate are:
You must be a legal resident in Sint Maarten
You must be unemployed or under employed (working less than 20 hours/week)
You must be older than 18 years
Once eligibility has been established by the Labor Department, the applicant is sent to SMTF to complete the enrollment process and start classes.