JPMorgan Chase to Put $75 Million Toward Career, Technical Education


JPMorgan Chase has announced plans to put $75 million toward career technical education programs with an emphasis on training for middle skill positions in an effort to combat youth unemployment.

The New Skills for Youth Initiative will push states across the country to put money into demand-driven career education programs with the hopes of reducing the high unemployment rate currently facing 16 to 24-year-olds, especially among minority youth.

“It is a crisis that only 60 percent of students in high-poverty urban school districts graduate from high school and that more than 5 million young people are out of work and school,” Jamie Dimon, chairman and CEO of JPMorgan, said in a statement. “Without the right skills or education, they find themselves stuck in low-skill, low-wage jobs or unemployed.”

This spring, 20 to 25 states will each be awarded $100,000 in grants to be put toward the planning and implementation of long-term career readiness programs that will coordinate with the needs of local employers.  In the fall, 10 to 15 states will receive $1.5 million to $2 million over the following three years to fund efforts to keep the programs going and assess them as needed.

States wishing to participate will have the opportunity to compete for the funding.

The money will go toward the expansion of programs such as Pathways in Technology Early College High School, P-Tech, in New York City, where students graduate in six years rather than four with knowledge not only of the traditional core subjects but also computer science.  Students graduate with a high school degree as well as an associate’s degree.

Grants will be awarded by the Council of Chief State School Officers with the money coming from JPMorgan.  The company also has plans to work with the National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium, reports Alexia Elejalde-Ruiz for The Chicago Tribune.

The company also has plans to invest in city and school programs across the globe that focus on creating models of career-driven education aligning with the needs of emergent industries with the hopes of offering others the opportunity to copy successful approaches.

JPMorgan previously invested $250 million into the New Skills at Work initiative it launched in 2014.  The program invests in the training of job seekers for mid-level jobs that require a high school diploma and some postsecondary credentials but not a four-year college degree.  According to the company, employers have difficulties filling these positions in the areas of computer technology, nursing, and advanced manufacturing.

The initiative is following in the footsteps of other companies who have recently put money toward educational purposes.  Netflix founder Reed Hastings recently announced the creation of the Hastings Fund, which to date has raised $100 million to be put toward education, although it is still unclear exactly how he plans to use the funding. Hastings said on his Facebook page that he will give the money “in the best way possible for kids’ education,” reports Mark Keierleber for The 74 Million.

Meanwhile, the Walton Family Foundation has put $1 billion toward education initiatives over the last 20 years, with over $385 million going specifically to charter schools.  The foundation recently announced plans to double their investments over the next five years.