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Workforce Readiness

JPMorgan Chase to Invest $350 Million in CC and Workforce Programs

Financial services behemoth JPMorgan Chase recently announced an extension of "New Skills at Work," which will award $350 million over five years to community colleges and workforce training programs, among other projects.

A $125 million investment is planned for community colleges, to strengthen the bonds between schools and employers. Another $200 million will help prepare new education and training programs aligned with high-demand digital and technical skills. And $25 million will be used to set up and share labor market data systems and research to identify the education and training programs that have the biggest impact on lifting people out of low-wage jobs and into good careers.

The education-related investments are intended to help educators and business leaders work together on outfitting training programs in community colleges and other venues with skills, credentials and competencies required for current and future jobs. JPMorgan Chase will also fund the Aspen Institute's College Excellence Program, which will recruit and select some 200 "current, aspiring or recently appointed" community college presidents, to help them develop curriculum, improve their schools' graduation rates and post-graduation success and share best practices with other leaders.

The latest investments arrive on the heels of the company's original $300 million commitment made in 2013. During the previous five years, JP Morgan Chase worked with 700-plus partners to set up workforce training programs. For example, the Advocate Workforce Initiative, a program led by Advocate Health Care, delivered education to a thousand underemployed people, to help them prepare for work in healthcare fields in the Chicago area.

The overarching goal of the next phase of New Skills, the company said, is to support programs and projects that would create economic mobility and solid career pathways for underserved populations, including women, people of color, veterans and those coming out of prison.

Also, for the first time, the company will work with MIT's Initiative on the Digital Economy to forecast the emerging skillsets for JPMorgan Chase employees themselves and develop new technology and business training programs to help upskill and reskill people to be prepared for work influenced by artificial intelligence, machine learning, deep learning and robotics.

"The new world of work is about skills, not necessarily degrees," said Chairman and CEO Jamie Dimon, in a statement. "Unfortunately, too many people are stuck in low-skill jobs that have no future and too many businesses cannot find the skilled workers they need. We must remove the stigma of a community college and career education, look for opportunities to upskill or reskill workers and give those who have been left behind the chance to compete for well-paying careers today and tomorrow."

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.

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