Jamaica's prime minister is calling on private companies in the Caribbean country to each hire at least one more qualified, jobless islander.

Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller has dubbed the job-creating initiative the Jamaica Employ Program. She estimates it can eventually create 40,000 new jobs if businesses comply and help reduce Jamaica's 14.3 percent unemployment rate.

On Monday, officials with the Labor Ministry and the Chamber of Commerce signed a memorandum of understanding to work on the government initiative.

Labor Minister Derrick Kellier says the program can potentially provide greater levels of "social stability" and "cohesion between government and the private sector." Chamber of Commerce President Milton Samuda has agreed.

Simpson Miller first proposed the idea in January, shortly after leading her party to a resounding victory in parliamentary elections.