JPMorgan commits $350M to job training programs
Adding to a string of community development commitments in recent years, JPMorgan Chase said Monday it would spend $350 million on training programs that prepare workers for high-tech jobs and encourage employers to hire them.
The five-year initiative is designed to foster digital skills among those without a traditional college degree and to improve the flow of trained workers to companies looking to hire.
Banks and other big companies have been under pressure to give back to their communities in a period of heady profits and after federal income taxes were cut last year. Worker training has been a hot issue given the high cost of college education and widening economic gap between booming cities and job-starved rural and low-income communities.
Last fall JPMorgan unveiled plans to invest $500 million in job training, affordable housing and economic development programs in up to 30 U.S. cities; local groups were to compete for the funds. That pledge and the one made Monday are separate from each other, a spokeswoman said.
JPMorgan also raised its minimum hourly wage to $15 in 2016, and it has pledged $150 million to aid economic recovery efforts in Detroit.
The commitments coincide with a national expansion by the New York bank. Last week JPMorgan said it will open up to 90 new branches this year, including in new markets such as Minneapolis and St. Louis.
The job-training program is an effort to help workers gain new, necessary skills, Chairman and CEO Jamie Dimon said in a news release. About 30% of the current U.S. labor market will need to change jobs or upgrade their skills by 2030 to remain employed, according to some estimates.
“The new world of work is about skills, not necessarily degrees,” Dimon said. “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.”
Of the total $350 million, JPMorgan will spend $200 million to develop new education and training programs for digital and technical skills that are in high demand. The bank will spend $125 million to strengthen the ties between training programs, employers and educators. And $25 million will be directed to the development of improved labor market data.
JPMorgan also said it will partner with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to identify and forecast workplace skills needed in the future, focusing on the impact of artificial intelligence, machine learning and robotics on the job market.