PHILIPSBURG:--- The difficulties of students abroad returning to St. Maarten was one of the topics discussed on August 19th, when the St. Maarten Hospitality & Trade Association, Soualiga Social Movement and the Soualiga Foundation met for the first time. Three members of the Soualiga Social Movement namely Alston Lourens, Emilio Kalmera and Sjaoel "Shooz" Richardson met with Perry Geerlings Chairman of the Soualiga Foundation and Karen Hana, Executive Director of the SHTA in the meeting room at the offices of the SHTA.
The Soualiga Social Movement asked for the meeting, after recognizing the issues most students abroad have in regards to returning to St. Maarten to work or for an internship. Other related issues were discussed such as the reluctance of some graduating students to start at a lower position than what they have studied for, the issues some local interns sometimes bring to the table and the international experience some of our students shy away from.
All organizations in the room acknowledged that a lot could be done to help the businesses on the island get quality interns and employees from amongst our student populations abroad. The SHTA, SSM, and SF decided that a web-based solution would best serve this purpose and pledged to further discuss possibilities. The SHTA already signed an accord with SXMjobs.com last July, a job board with around 15,000 visitors per month, operated by a group of St. Maarten students currently studying in the Netherlands. It targets primarily young St. Maarten professionals and students living abroad; uploading vacancies is free for SHTA members. The groups will conduct further correspondence via email and announce the solutions at a later date.