New Skills at Work Initiative Can Help Black Americans Compete in the Future of Work - Black Enterprise
Black Enterprise Magazine January-March 2019 Issue

African Americans will be among those who can benefit from a $350 million investment by JPMorgan Chase to get workers ready for higher job skill opportunities and the future of work.

The new five-year global initiative just announced by the nation’s largest bank is geared to meet the growing demand for skilled workers. The investment will provide substantial support to community college and other non-traditional career pathway programs. The effort focuses on creating economic mobility and career pathways for underserved populations.

For the black community, the program will help those individuals nationally gain employment and get skills and job training to become qualified to work in various industries.

JPMorgan said its previous efforts helped 150,000 people gain skills to compete for better-paying jobs.

The bank’s new program more specifically will include:

  • $200 million to help prepare individuals for the future of work by developing and piloting innovative new education and training programs aligned with high-demand digital and technical skills, leading to higher-wage jobs in growing industries and career mobility.
  • $125 million to strengthen education and training systems that are necessary to improve collaboration and communication between employers and educators, including community colleges. This alignment between supply and demand is critical to help increase the number of people who have the skills for in-demand jobs in information technology, healthcare, and advanced manufacturing.
  • $25 million to support the development and dissemination of actionable labor market data and research that allow government and business to direct their investments to the education and training programs that most effectively lift people out of low-wage jobs and into good careers in their communities.

“The new world of work is about skills, not necessarily degrees,” Jamie Dimon, the bank’s chairman and CEO, stated. “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.”

The bank said in a news release that the New Skills at Work initiative will focus on workforce training and career readiness for individuals whose barriers to opportunity are particularly severe and who are shut out of the rewards of a growing and changing economy.

The banking giant claims a rapidly changing economy requires digital and industry-specific technical skills in order to access good jobs. According to some estimates, by 2030, over 30% of the U.S. labor market and 375 million workers globally will need to change jobs or upgrade their skills significantly to continue to advance within the workforce.

JPMorgan Chase will make philanthropic investments in local education and job training programs that are proven to help more people, such as women, people of color, veterans, and returning citizens, secure in-demand, good jobs. The bank says this investment will test new innovations and lift up the programs that are most effective at helping workers obtain skills for tech-enabled careers in growing industries such as information technology, healthcare, and advanced manufacturing.

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Jeffrey McKinney

Jeffrey McKinney is a long-time freelance business writer and reporter, contributing to Black Enterprise magazine for several years on broad range of business and financial topics. He also writes regularly for Franchise Times, a highly regarded publication covering the franchise industry.


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