Computer Lab at Women’s Centre Upgraded

first_imgThe Universal Service Fund (formerly Universal Access Fund) has upgraded the computer laboratory at the Women’s Centre of Jamaica Foundation’s Trafalgar Road headquarters in St. Andrew at a cost of $3.5 million. The lab, which was officially handed over on Monday (January 14) during a brief ceremony, has been outfitted with 20 computers, a server, printer, uninterruptible power supply (UPS), wiring, and other infrastructure. Managing Director of the Fund, Hugh Cross, said the project was “money well spent” and urged the women and girls at the centre to use the resources wisely. He suggested that they seek to further their education by registering for online programmes. Executive Director of the Women’s Centre, Beryl Weir, expressed gratitude for the renovation, which she said, will greatly benefit girls who are preparing for their Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) examinations. “We have been challenged over the years, because the computers have not been up to standard,” she said, noting that this factor had often impeded the girls in completing their School-Based Assessment (SBA). She informed that for those who are not computer literate, the intention is to ensure that they complete a basic computer course and be issued with a certificate by the time they leave the facility. The Women’s Centre addresses the problems of interrupted education and the accompanying social issues associated with teenage pregnancy. It focuses on education, training and developmental counselling, thereby improving levels of employment and productivity among the young women, and delaying unwanted pregnancies. Some of the services offered by the centre are: ‘walk-in’ counselling service for women and men; counselling for fathers and parents of teen mothers; skill training for both males and females in the age group 17 to 25; confidential counselling service for children of any age, and group peer counselling sessions at the Kingston Counselling Clinic; and day care facilities for babies of teens and working mothers.last_img read more

Retail workers feel disruption from shifting shopper habits

first_imgNEW YORK, N.Y. – With new options and conveniences, there’s never been a better time for shoppers. As for workers … well, not always.The retail industry is being radically reshaped by technology, and nobody feels that disruption more starkly than 16 million American shelf stockers, salespeople, cashiers and others. The shifts are driven, like much in retail, by the Amazon effect — the explosion of online shopping and the related changes in consumer behaviour and preferences.As mundane tasks like checkout and inventory are automated, employees are trying to deliver the kind of customer service the internet can’t match.So a Best Buy employee who used to sell electronics in the store is dispatched to customers’ homes to help them choose just the right products. A Walmart worker dashes in and out of the grocery aisles, hand-picks products for online shoppers and brings them to people’s cars.___Editor’s note: This story is part of Future of Work, an Associated Press series that explores how workplaces across the U.S. and the world are being transformed by technology and global pressures. As more employers move, shrink or revamp their work sites, many employees are struggling to adapt. At the same time, workers with in-demand skills or knowledge are benefiting. Advanced training, education or know-how is becoming a required ticket to the 21st-century workplace.___Yet even as responsibilities change — and in many cases, expand — the average growth in pay for retail workers isn’t keeping pace with the rest of the economy. Some companies say that in the long run the transformation could mean fewer retail workers, though they may be better paid. But while some workers feel more satisfied, others find their jobs are just a lot less fun.Bloomingdale’s saleswoman Brenda Moses remembers the pre-internet era, when the upscale store was regularly filled with customers ready to buy. These days, department stores are less crowded and the customers who do come in can make price comparisons on their phones at the same time as they pepper staff with questions.“You tell them everything, and then they look at you and say, ‘You know what? I think I will get it online,’” she said.Moses has seen her commission rate rise to 6 per cent from a half a per cent, but her hourly wage dropped from $19 as low as $10 before it came back up to $14. Depending more on commissions means her income fluctuates, and she’s competing with her colleagues for each sale.“Now,” Moses said, “you have to fight to make your money.”The same could be said for the retailing industry, overall. In 2017, 66,500 U.S. retail jobs disappeared (not taking into account jobs added in areas like distribution and call centres). In the past decade, about one out of every seven jobs have vanished in the hardest-hit sectors like clothing and consumer electronics, says Frank Badillo, director of research at MacroSavvy LLC. Though department stores have suffered the most, smaller businesses also have struggled to compete with online sellers.Many of the survivors are rushing to adapt. Of the retail jobs that remain, over the next decade as many as 60 per cent will either be new kinds of roles or will involve revised duties, says Craig Rowley, senior client partner at Korn Ferry Hay Group, a human resources advisory firm. He estimates the number is about 10 per cent now.How fast retail jobs will change and what they’ll look like depends on three factors, Rowley said: the pace at which online shopping advances; the speed at which robotics and other technology progress; and shifts in the minimum hourly pay.“Jobs for workers will get more interesting and be more impactful on the company’s business,” Rowley said. “But the negative side is that there will be fewer entry-level jobs and there will be more pressure to perform.”Some retail workers at the vanguard of the changes — like Laila Ummelaila, a personal grocery shopper at a Walmart in Old Bridge, New Jersey — speak glowingly of their new responsibilities.Walmart, the nation’s largest private employer, has scrutinized every job in its stores as it looks to leverage its more than 4,000 U.S. locations against Amazon’s internet dominance.The company now has 18,000 personal shoppers who fill online orders from store shelves, and 17,000 check-out hosts whose responsibilities are more extensive than the greeters of old, including keeping the area clean and making sure registers move efficiently. The company has also shifted workers from back-room clerical jobs and eliminated some overnight stocker positions in favour of more daytime sales help. The customers like the changes, company officials say, pointing to more than three years of sales growth at its established U.S. stores — a contrast with other, suffering retailers.Ummelaila became a personal shopper after joining the company three years ago. To meet her store’s goals, she must pick one item per 30 seconds. If she can’t find something, she has to quickly get a substitute that’s as good or better.“You start to get to know the customers, you know what they like,” she said, “how they like their meat … and how long they keep milk in the fridge.”Best Buy, meanwhile, has begun a free service in key markets where salespeople will sit with customers in their own homes and make recommendations on setting up a home office to designing a home theatre system. Best Buy said shoppers spend more with a home visit than they do at the stores. The project follows Amazon, which reportedly has been testing a program that sends employees to shoppers’ houses for free “smart home” recommendations.At Steve Frederick’s townhouse in Chicago, Billy Schuler offered advice about speakers that can be adjusted from a smartphone. Schuler, who had previously worked at Best Buy for 14 years, returned to the company to take on the new role.“Customers are more relaxed when they are in their home,” he said. “We can do a walkthrough of the house and see their needs.” He likes to “break the ice” by calling the person and chatting a day or two before the visit.Frederick, who’s spending close to $20,000 on the equipment, describes himself as “old-school” and says he needed a lot of help. He thinks it was worthwhile.“When you are spending that kind of money, you want to have someone come in and explain it,” he said.Schuler declined to give specifics but says he is well compensated. Ummelaila says her pay went up to nearly $12 per hour from $10 when she became a personal shopper.Target credits its strategy of assigning dedicated sales staff in areas such as clothing, consumer electronics, and beauty for helping increase sales, and says having visual merchandisers create vignettes like shoppers would see in specialty stores inspires people to buy. “You are making an outfit and telling a story on each rack,” says Crystal Lawrence, who works at a Target store in Brooklyn, New York. She likes the variety in her new job, and Target says it plans to keep paying higher wages for those specialized roles.But a survey of nearly 300 retail workers — conducted by the Center for Frontline Retail and Community Development Project at the Urban Justice Center — found that of those workers whose job responsibilities have changed, more than 40 per cent said they hadn’t received pay increases to reflect that.Wages for hourly retail workers have risen less than 9 per cent since 1990, compared with 18 per cent for overall workers in the private sector. There has been some progress recently; some of the biggest retailers, like Walmart and Target, have made moves to increase pay in the face of low unemployment and competition for workers.“For a long period, these retail jobs were just terrible on average,” said Michael Mandel, chief economic strategist at the Progressive Policy Institute. “Retail stores have been following one strategy: high turnover, low wages. That strategy is no longer viable.”Mandel sees hope in technology, which he says has historically created more and better-paying jobs than it has eliminated.The National Retail Federation trade group points to government data showing that even in large supermarket chains where self-checkout has become standard, the number of employees per store has held steady over the 15 years through 2014. And the demand for grocery cashiers increased in the past few years, says Burning Glass Technologies, a company that analyzes labour market data.McDonald’s says the self-serve kiosks it has been rolling out won’t result in mass layoffs, but will mean that some cashiers shift roles to accommodate changes like offering table service.But a report prepared by Cornerstone Capital Group for the Investor Responsibility Research Center Institute predicts that more than 7.5 million retail jobs are at risk of being eliminated by automation over the next several years.Amazon is testing a grocery store in Seattle without cashiers, using cameras and shelf sensors to keep track of the items that shoppers grab and charge them. Eatsa, an automat-style restaurant in San Francisco, lacks cashiers as well — diners order at kiosks and workers prepare the food behind an opaque wall, with virtually no interaction between them.Labour groups are trying to address some of the new issues. Under a contract reached last May between Bloomingdale’s and the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, Moses and other members who work at the flagship store in Manhattan can also get commissions from some online sales.And a labour group representing 1.3 million grocery and food workers is trying to combat automation by highlighting that workers’ specialized skills — like the care they take in icing a rose on a wedding cake, or arranging flowers, or the ability of human workers to recognize spoiled food — provide a benefit to shoppers.“Separating progress for the consumer, for the worker, for the economy versus the stockholders … those are completely different things,” says Erikka Knuti, a spokeswoman for the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union.Others say automation and happy workers are not necessarily incompatible.Walmart’s CEO Doug McMillon foresees fewer sales associates at his stores, but they’ll be better paid and better trained. Walmart has trained 225,000 supervisors and managers on topics like new apps and better customer service. It says managers who go through the academies have better retention rates than those who do not. Workers who report to those managers stay longer. And entry-level workers who complete a new training program are more likely to remain.It’s a shift retailers may have to speed up. Government figures show the rate of retail workers quitting their jobs in 2016 was at its highest since 2007.Alfredo Duran, who started as a sales associate at Gap and worked at six retailers over 15 years, left the industry two years ago. As a manager at clothing chain Mango, he was making $75,000 a year. But once the store closed, he had trouble finding another job in retail because no one wanted to pay him for his experience.“It’s gone down. One person is doing three jobs. And you can’t move up,” said Duran, 38, of Queens, New York.He’s now a concierge at a Manhattan hotel, making half of what he used to earn — but happy he left retail.___AP Video journalists Terry Chea in San Francisco and Teresa Crawford in Chicago contributed to this report.___Follow Anne D’Innocenzio: http://twitter.com/ADInnocenzioThis story is part of Future of Work, an Associated Press series that explores how workplaces across the U.S. and the world are being transformed by technology and global pressures. As more employers move, shrink or revamp their work sites, many employees are struggling to adapt. At the same time, workers with in-demand skills or knowledge are benefiting. Advanced training, education or know-how is becoming a required ticket to the 21st-century workplace.last_img read more

Statistics Canada says the pace of economic growth slowed in first quarter

first_imgThe pace of economic growth in Canada slowed in the first quarter of this year as housing investment pulled back amid new mortgage stress test rules.Statistics Canada says the economy grew at an annualized pace of 1.3 per cent for the first three months of the year. That compared with an annual pace of 1.7 per cent in the final three months of 2017.Economists had expected growth to come in at an annualized rate of 1.8 per cent for the first quarter of 2018, according to Thomson Reuters Eikon.The weaker-than-expected result came as investment in housing fell 1.9 per cent in the quarter, the largest decline since the first quarter of 2009, due to a drop in ownership transfer costs as the pace of home sales slowed at the start of the year.Growth in the first quarter was also the slowest pace since the economy contracted in the second quarter of 2016 due to forest fires that destroyed parts of Fort McMurray, Alta., and forced the shutdown of several oilsands operations in the region.The latest reading on the economy follows the Bank of Canada’s decision to keep its key interest rate on hold.last_img read more

Toronto stocks edge lower as financials and health care fall US stocks

first_imgThe Canadian Press Companies in this story: (TSX:GSPTSE, TSX:CADUSD=X) TORONTO — Canada’s main stock index fell in late-morning trading amid losses in the health-care sector, which includes the big marijuana companies, and the financial sector.The S&P/TSX composite index was down 19.13 points at 14,122.64.In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 62.46 points at 22,922.06. The S&P 500 index was up 1.36 points at 2,468.78, while the Nasdaq composite was down 41.05 points at 6,487.36.The Canadian dollar traded for 73.78 cents US compared with an average of 74.10 cents on Thursday.The February crude contract was up 34 cents at US$46.22 per barrel and the January natural gas contract was up 12.9 cents at US$3.712 per mmBTU.The February gold contract was down US$5.60 at US$1,262.30 an ounce and the March copper contract was down 1.60 cents at US$2.6805 a pound.last_img read more

Mamata snubs Modis offer to install new bust of Vidyasagar

first_imgDiamond Harbour: Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday rejected Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s offer to install a new bust of Bengal Renaissance icon and social reformer Pandit Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar at the same spot where it was vandalised saying that Bengal has the money for it and does not need his help.She added that it was BJP hooligans who desecrated a heritage by breaking the bust in the violence that erupted during BJP national president Amit Shah’s roadshow. Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari PujaShe was addressing a mammoth rally here on Thursday afternoon after which she also attended two rallies at Mathurapur and Mandirbazar respectively. Thursday was the last day of campaigning in Mathurapur and Diamond Harbour where elections will be held on May 19. The time of campaign has been curtailed following an Election Commission of India order late on Wednesday evening. Challenging Modi, she said: “If you can prove that Trinamool Congress supporters had demolished the statue of Vidyasagar at the college, I will quit politics. And if you fail to prove it, you will have to do sit-ups holding your ears. Some goons from Rajasthan and Bihar had destroyed the statue and the Prime Minister is so shameless that he is talking about rebuilding the statue,” she said and added: “A black statue will be installed in India which will be the symbol of fascism and lies that have been circulated by Modi. By installing a statue, you can’t bring back the 200-year-old heritage.” Banerjee also alleged that the BJP leaders are coming to Bengal to malign the state. Without naming Amit Shah, she said: “That person alleged that I have made Bengal a state of beggars (kangal). Are we beggars? What audacity has he got to call us beggars.” Continued on P7last_img read more

The Heat Do as Much Damage in the Fourth Quarter as in

With just over five minutes left in Game 2 of the NBA’s Eastern Conference finals and the Miami Heat trailing by three, LeBron James threw a wild alley-oop attempt toward Dwyane Wade. The ball sailed 10 feet over Wade, off the backboard and into the hands of Indiana Pacers center Roy Hibbert. At that point, the win probability models at InPredictable gave the Heat just a 29 percent chance of winning.Then the Heat turned those probabilities inside out, outscoring the Pacers 15 to 8 in the last five minutes of the game; James and Wade scored all 15 points.Poof! After a frustrating fourth-quarter performance by Indiana, its home-court advantage was gone. The series is tied 1-1.Maybe we should have seen this coming; end-of-game struggles have been all too common for the Heat’s opponents in these playoffs. Through Tuesday night, the Heat have outscored their opponents by an average of 14.7 points per 100 possessions in the fourth quarter, the best mark by any team in the playoffs.Miami Heat Point Differential Per 100 PossessionsThe Heat’s differential by quarter was fairly even in the regular season, although there’s a tilt toward the second half. Miami has often gotten off to slow starts in the playoffs, but, more often than not, the Heat have finished by blowing teams apart down the final stretch. If we narrow the focus to those mystical “clutch” moments (less than five minutes left in the game, neither team ahead by more than five points) the Heat’s per 100 possession point differential jumps to a ludicrous +82.1 (of course, that’s in a sample of just 14 minutes, three of which came in Tuesday night’s game).Seeking matchups to exploit in the fourth quarter has been part of a consistent pattern in the Heat’s rotations. Nine different five-man units have played at least five or more fourth-quarter minutes for the Heat in the playoffs, compared with just four such units in the first quarter. Of those nine units, six have a positive point differential. Only one of those first-quarter units does.Case in point: In Game 2, guard Norris Cole and big man Chris Anderson gave the Heat a boost of energy and defensive intensity off the bench in the first half. Seeing how effective those two were early in this game, Erik Spoelstra, the Heat’s coach, left them in for almost the entire fourth quarter. The key stretch, when the Heat turned a four-point deficit into a six-point lead, came when Cole and Anderson were playing with James, Wade and Chris Bosh. That lineup had not played a single minute for the Heat in the playoffs before Game 2.The Pacers have shown they can compete with, and beat, the Heat. But doing that four times in a series will require much more in-game consistency, because on most nights the Heat are building toward something. read more

Freshmen spark Buckeyes in seasonopening victory

For the past two seasons, the Ohio State men’s basketball team was, for the most part, all Evan Turner, all the time. But with Turner now in the NBA, the Buckeyes appear to be, after one game, much more balanced. In Friday’s 102-61 win over North Carolina A&T, five Buckeyes scored in double figures, including freshman forward Deshaun Thomas with a team-high 24 points. Thomas, who scored 15 points in the first half, shot 10 for 16 from the field including 2 for 3 from outside the arc. “I was feeling it,” Thomas said. “When you’re on the bench, you have to be ready to play and play hard, and that’s what I did.” Known for his prolific scoring in high school, Thomas admitted that it took him a while to get up to speed in other areas of the game, specifically his defense. Though Thomas might not be quite as good as he needs to be yet, coach Thad Matta said the freshman showed how much he’s improved with his performance. “Deshaun has been so focused on his defense in practice,” Matta said. “We always tell the guys, ‘When you focus on the defense the offense will come’ and I think he found it today.” Freshman Jared Sullinger, despite a less-than-stellar first half in which he played just eight minutes and scored only three points, finished with 19 points in his OSU debut. But it was his 14 rebounds that Sullinger said were most important. “What I focus my game on is how many rebounds I get,” Sullinger said. “That’s something that has been established by my brothers and my father. (My father) being my basketball coach in high school, he told me if I don’t get a lot of rebounds, I’m not trying hard.” Senior center Dallas Lauderdale recorded his first career double-double with 12 points and 13 rebounds to go along with eight blocks, and guards William Buford and David Lighty both scored in double figures, with 11 and 10 points, respectively. The Buckeyes play at No. 11 Florida on Tuesday. read more

Cristiano Ronaldo not sure how Italy experience will be

first_imgFive-time Ballon d’Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo was asked about how his experience in Italy would pan out and check out his response.“I don’t know, maybe it’ll be different here in this club,” he said as quoted in Football Espana.“So far, I feel the people at the club are different, they are nice and like a family. The supporters are the same.“I’m excited and of course I want to make them happy. I’ve been a professional for 15-16 years, so my method is always the same.Juventus v Atalanta BC - Serie AQuiz: How much do you know about the 2018-19 Serie A campaign? Boro Tanchev – May 28, 2019 Let’s see how deep your knowledge is about the 2018-19 Serie A campaign. Good luck and have fun!“I played for many years at Manchester United and Real Madrid, now is a new adventure, but I want to always keep the same working method and ethic, helping the team to achieve our goals.“I know the League, as I followed it on television, but never played here before. I hope that I can adapt very fast, but I come here for the challenge to the best club in Italy, is exciting and I hope to start the season as well as possible.“Thank you for everything, I’ll do my best and for sure we’re going to win things together.”last_img read more

Steven Gerrard plays down Rangers league table position

first_imgRangers Steven Gerrard’s men were impressive on Sunday leading to an emphatic away victory over Hearts and subsequent lead on the table but the manager says he is not carried away by the position.Steven Gerrard told Daily Mail:“It means nothing to me – and I’m not lying.”“It’s fantastic for the fans as it’s been too long. They can enjoy tonight but we have another big game in 72 hours (against Aberdeen at Ibrox) and that’s my focus.”“I said before the game it would be nice to be top, but I won’t think about that.”“All I will think about is what knocks we have, who is available for Wednesday and what am I going to do without Scott. I go straight to work for that game.”Steven Gerrard, Michael OwenOwen reveals why Liverpool didn’t offer Gerrard a new contract Manuel R. Medina – September 6, 2019 According to Owen, the Reds wanted to sell Gerrard two years before he left the club and that’s why they didn’t offer him a contract renewal.“I am not interested in the league (position). You get nothing for it now. We have worked hard to get there, but it’s a challenge for us to see how long we can stay there.”“People have games in hand and will breathe down our neck, but it’s a different responsibility. The players know that and we have to handle that.”“There’s no point getting carried away because we’re in early December and you get nothing for it right now.”“It was a very important result. It’s our first big win against a rival away from home and we’ll take confidence and belief from this result.”last_img read more

Toshack thinks Gareth Bale should emulate Ronaldo

first_imgFormer Real Madrid manager John Toshack, came after compatriot Gareth Bale strong as he believes the winger should emulate Cristiano Ronaldo.Gareth Bale is not going through the best times at Real Madrid, his compatriot John Toshack doesn’t like the way in which he conducts himself and thinks that he should be more like Cristiano Ronaldo.The Welsh player is currently going through another recovery process from a muscular injury, something that has become very common with him at the club.Toshack believes that Gareth Bale is making efforts that are directly affecting his performance, he is convinced that the Welshman can do a better job of understanding his limitations on the pitch and avoid certain risks.What John is asking Gareth Bale to do, is very similar to the time when Cristiano Ronaldo finally understood that he didn’t need to run all across the pitch and all he required was to save his energy only for the most important moments.Bale is regarded as one of the most important players in Los Blancos’s history already, his goals and assists have been crucial during the most important matches for the club.”Gareth Bale needs to copy Cristiano if he wants to stay at Real Madrid” says John Toshack https://t.co/lLGWU0yRnn pic.twitter.com/fDNGNJuIfR— AS English (@English_AS) January 21, 2019“Cristiano plays as a winger, he scores and assists. There is no doubt that Gareth Bale already is one of the best players in football history,” said Toshack via Diario AS.“If he wants to remain as such, he should try to imitate Ronaldo. If you only look at what he’s accomplished, you quickly think what could’ve been if it hadn’t been for his unfortunate injury record.”“So, obviously, his experience can help him diminish his game a little bit and play in shorter parts of the pitch while reading better what’s going on.”“I really hope that he can do a lot more than what he is doing right now, because there is no doubt that you always need to start over when you recover from an injury.”“As far as his physical recovery is concerned, you always have to get back up and it’s almost as if you had to come back two or three times every season.”“This whole situation has been very difficult for him, and that gives him even more credit in my opinion.”Jose Mourinho, Lionel MessiMourinho: “Lionel Messi made me a better coach” Andrew Smyth – September 14, 2019 Jose Mourinho believes the experience of going up against Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi at Real Madrid made him a greater coach.“What we never imagined would happen with him were the injury problems that were detected.”“I mean, he has missed almost as many matches as he’s played and that has obviously slowed him down quite a bit,” he concluded.📻Toshack, sobre el estado de salud de Bale: “Es una pena para Gareth”➡https://t.co/PeNT9WXzNA pic.twitter.com/KY2sTYIZYf— El Larguero (@ellarguero) May 31, 2017To the people who don’t remember, John Toshack was the man who discovered Gareth Bale and the one who gave him his very first cap for Wales when he was just a kid.Born a Welshman as well, John Benjamin Toshack is arguably one of the most important figures for his country and arguably one of the biggest talent seekers in football history.Under his belt, Toshack has an amazing record of discovering players such as Iker Casillas, Xabi Alonso, and Gareth Bale himself.If the ‘Cardiff Express’ wants to keep performing at the highest leve, he needs to start listening to his body and realize that he can no longer make those sprints that usually set him apart from all the other players.Bale is a very talented player with the ball at his feet, there is no need to rely so much on your acceleration when you know that you are risking a new muscular injury every time to sprint.Gareth has impressive finishing skills, imagination to create football for his teammates and team leadership. It may be time for him to evolve as a player.John Toshack “I’d recommend British players to go out, leave the UK to learn other leagues & cultures. It is not easy but it’s valuable. With that said, Aaron in Turin should not make the same mistake that Bale did in Madrid: the local language must be learned immediately.” pic.twitter.com/187qK2SOek— Tarek Khatib (@ADP1113) January 6, 2019Do you agree with Toshack or should Gareth Bale remain the same type of football player for the rest of his career? Please share your opinion in the comment section down below.last_img read more