Emergency Income Support and Training Project

Approval date
August 02, 2018
Effectiveness Date
August 09, 2018
First Disbursement Date
August 14, 2018
Closing date
February 28, 2023
Burn rate


The Emergency Income Support and Training Project (US$ 22.5 Million) provides temporary income support and improves the employability of under and unemployed workers in Sint Maarten to strengthen the country’s social protection system in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma. The project provides training and certifications to participants in hospitality and construction. The project is built upon an initiative by the tourism industry which launched the Sint Maarten Training Foundation (SMTF) with Government support.

In December 2021, restructuring for the project was approved to expand and strengthen employment services of the National Employment Service Centre and extend the closing date to February 2023 given delays brought by COVID-19. 

Financial Summary:


Amount pledged to finance the project.


Disbursement indicates the actual transfer of funds from the administrator to Sint Maarten implementation partners.


The ratio represents the percentage of the amount that has been transferred from the administrator to Sint Maarten implementation partners.

The Emergency Income Support and Training Project is implemented in collaboration with St Maarten’s Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labor (VSA). Participants receive training, a stipend and health insurance benefit. The program is implemented by the Sint Maarten Training Foundation (SMTF), a private not-for-profit institution, which partners with other institutions to expand its program offerings. The project consists of the following components:

  • Skills Training:

    A balanced combination of in-class theoretical and practical training as well as training in socio-emotional skills. Courses range from culinary skills, bartending, hospitality services, technical training including construction, electrical skills, carpentry and property management, culture and history classes, and English skills. Upon successful completion, participants receive a certificate.

  • Financial support:

    Temporary income support (a stipend) to participants. It also includes health insurance for students and a reimbursement for transportation costs directly linked to the training.

  • Social Registry:

    Identification and registration of socio-economic needs of individuals and households. The system will help to identify those in long-term poverty and help provide quick responses in post-disaster situations (by having a ready list of those least likely to be able to cope with a shock).

The Emergency Income Support and Training Project was set up to reach up to 1800 under-employed and unemployed persons in exchange for their participation in skills training. Some participants have exited the program as hotels are resuming business while new participants are entering the program. Early anecdotal testimony from participants indicates high levels of satisfaction with the program and its benefits. Several participants have also underlined the effect of the program on their career ambitions. 

Nearly 2000 students - including support to the most disadvantaged groups of the labor market: youth, women, and the unemployed - have received vocational training in professional areas ranging from culinary skills and hospitality and property management, carpentry and masonry, culture and history, and English skills.

A Socioeconomic Needs Assessment was launched in June 2022 that will provide crucial data on benefits and inform future social programs.

Project component

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Total Trainees




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Sub component

Not yet started



Development of Social Registry

Design, development of Social Registry



Tourism in Sint Maarten accounts for about half of GDP. With several hotels destroyed and others severely damaged by Hurricane Irma in September 2017, many people in the tourism sector lost their jobs and their only source of income. Thanks to an initiative by the local hotel industry, the Hospitality Training Program was designed to sharpen employees' skills, pay participants a stipend and cover their health insurance. The project provides vocational training to some of the most vulnerable people on the island, regardless of their previous employment. The program prevented large layoffs, supported the income of staff in need, and improved the competitiveness of participants.

One of the labor market challenges in Sint Maarten is the low level of education and relevant market skills among persons of working age. As early as 2016, the International Monetary Fund noted that there was a mismatch between the country’s labor supply skills and the skills needed by employers. On top of this, there is a lack of technical and vocational training institutions and certifying agencies in-country. The EISTP steps in to improve people’s professional skills and thereby their employability through training and re-training.