Jamaica has about 800,000 young people between the ages of 12 and 35, approximately 34 percent of the population. In the coming years, job creation will not come from traditional sectors (agriculture, tourism and manufacturing) due to competitiveness disadvantages vis-à-vis other countries due to issues of scale, the country’s insular nature, the high cost of energy and high levels of crime and violence, among other issues. Previous approaches to solving the unemployment problem have concentrated on skills development, but vocational education training programs have reported limited success. Much less attention has been given to the linkages with the labor market and facilitating students’ transition into it once they graduate. Furthermore, unemployment and underemployment are endemic in all socio-economic groups – including people with secondary and tertiary degrees. Finally, Jamaica cannot borrow from international lending institutions given its fragile macroeconomic situation. Looking for solutions outside of the box was necessary to respond to one of the client’s most pressing problems: youth unemployment.
Digital Jam 2.0 promoted solutions to high youth unemployment in Jamaica with new opportunities in the global virtual economy (microwork and e-lancing) and the booming "app economy." Microwork is a form of distributed work being performed online and generally paid by the micro task (image-tagging, data mining) that can be performed by people who do not need high technical skills. E-lancing refers to the range of free-lancing professions that can be performed online where the product can be compressed in a file format. Digital Jam 2.0 hosted a marketplace with the participation of about 40 national and international companies who are leaders in the IT sector, giving an opportunity to youths to interact directly with businesses in that sphere.