KINGSTON, Jamaica (AP) _ Jamaica’s government says it is launching a $5 million welfare-to-work program that is expected to benefit some 2,000 people.

Security Minister Derrick Kellier says the program will be implemented in the next two years.

The government’s media agency said Friday that the program aims to reduce the number of people who receive financial support and prepare them to enter the workforce.

The island of 2.9 million people has a 16 percent unemployment rate and nearly 17 percent of the population lives below the poverty line.