Over the last five years, JPMorgan Chase has invested $25 million in the Texas workforce to grow the number of career pathways for underserved communities. Now, the leading global financial services firm is further that commitment by way of $10 million, which will go to creating and sustaining opportunity in those areas.
It’s part of JPMorgan Chase’s new $30 billion commitment to “advance racial equity and drive an inclusive economic recovery,” the company said.
As part of the philanthropic investment in Texas, JPMorgan Chase is allocating $7 million of that in collaboration with The Commit Partnership, a local nonprofit that works to ensure all North Texas students receive an equitable education.
Those funds are mainly meant for career pathway development and living wage obtainment, per a news release. It will help strengthen the company’s investment in the Dallas County Promise scholarship program, which provides Dallas students with real work experiences that align with in-demand careers like IT and healthcare.
In addition to Commit, the $7M will benefit Dallas Independent School District, Dallas College, and University of North Texas Dallas, the nonprofit told us.
“Today’s data shows us that our young adults have the highest rates of unemployment claims as a result of the pandemic. This data demands we increase our sense of urgency towards efforts that will bring about a more inclusive Dallas,” Dottie Smith, president of The Commit Partnership, said in a statement. “We believe our efforts to create pathways for all of Dallas County students towards living wage careers will be helped tremendously through our partnership with JPMorgan Chase.”
The partnership with JPMorgan follows The Commit Partnership’s recently released 2019 Scorecard, which showed just how necessary this funding is.
According to the Scorecard, the Dallas-Fort Worth region had the fastest rate of job growth of any major metropolitan area from February 2019 to February 2020. But, only 25 percent of young adults aged 25-34 in Dallas County earned a living wage. That number was only 14 percent for Black and Hispanic young adults.
“Business has a responsibility to help solve challenges facing its employees and the customers and communities it serves,” Jamie Dimon, JPMorgan Chase chairman and CEO, said in a statement. “A skilled workforce and an inclusive recovery are key to Texas’ growth, and partnerships like these with government and educators will help Black and Latino Texans gain access to well-paying jobs and great careers.”
JPMorgan Chase is one of the largest employers in Texas with more than 24,500 employees. That’s why most of its philanthropic investment will hone in on supporting an inclusive future of work throughout the state.
Before the pandemic, Black and Latino Texans experienced two times the poverty rates of White and Asian Texans, according to research conducted by nonprofit Every Texan. That’s abysmal considering the state added around 1,000 jobs a day to its labor market.
The economic crisis accompanied by the COVID-19 pandemic has only widened this opportunity gap. JPMorgan notes research conducted by PolicyLink that shows Dallas-area White Texans earn more in hourly wages than Dallas-area Black and Latino Texans.
Investments to highlight how business, government and educators can work together
JPMorgan hopes its business and philanthropic investments show how vital it is for business, government, and educators to work together. To drive “sustainable change” in Texas, JPMorgan aims to build the skills necessary for success in a constantly changing labor market.
“Texas is the premier economic destination in America thanks to our exceptional workforce and our strong partnership with companies like JPMorgan Chase,” Governor Abbott said in a statement. “As we prepare the workforce of the future, Texas will continue to work with the business community, nonprofits, and academic institutions to expand opportunity and prosperity for all Texans.”
The $10 million will primarily emphasize the importance of building more inclusive career pathways for young adults, according to a release. The efforts are collaborative, JPMorgan said, meaning that public, private, and nonprofit sectors will come together to help local youth transition from school to quality jobs.
It’s a multi-faceted plan involving numerous partnerships that are both local and statewide.
In Dallas and San Antonio, JPMorgan will begin testing new strategies to upskill and reskill its own employees for future changes in technology and business. The firm also supports career development and skills training for any Texas employee to ensure everyone has the same opportunities.
Recently, JPMorgan partnered with the University of North Texas to “leverage local educational institutions and increase access to learning.” With UNT, Dallas College, and Alamo College, the company began developing curriculum that mirrored skills needed for in-demand jobs.
The learning program—still in its early stages—focuses on project management, financial analysis, data analytics and data structuring, which are highly desired skills at JPMorgan. The firm even combined its own training pilots with UNT program participation and saw more than 900 entry level JPMorgan Chase employees enrolling in nearly 3,000 courses.
Also in Dallas, JPMorgan plans to continue its support of The Fellowship Initiative (TFI), a three-year program that assists Black and Latino men, and other men of color from low-income communities, prepare for college and career success. TFI hopes to expand to Houston in 2021.
And in Austin, JPMorgan is aiding Capital IDEA in increasing the participants for its Career Expressway Program, a career readiness program that supports nontraditional students, and expand on its racial diversity. The firm will also help expand Austin’s nursing programs.
Supporting policy solutions
To achieve the goal of inclusive economic growth, in addition to skills training and career readiness, JPMorgan is using its business resources to advance policy changes.
Last year, the firm launched the JPMorgan Chase PolicyCenter to drive meaningful solutions at all levels of government. This includes advancing public policy agendas and working with policy, business, and community leaders to effect change.
The policy solutions that JPMorgan focuses on supporting are higher education, high-value credentials, and real-world work experiences.
Together with Texas policymakers, the PolicyCenter will work to scale quality integrated career pathways, create seamless transitions from high school to higher education to career, expand work-oriented experiences, and help ensure access for underserved populations, per a release.
At the Texas Center for Workforce Innovation, JPMorgan will expand its collaboration with Texas 2036.
The Dallas-based organization aims to “enable Texans to make policy decisions through accessible data, long-term planning and statewide engagement”—all by 2036, the state’s 200th birthday.
Senior leaders at JPMorgan Chase, along with fellow corporate and civic leaders, will act as advisors to Texas 2036 to help develop this workforce agenda.
“Before COVID, our data showed that Texas faced a serious challenge of not having enough workers with the skills and training needed to fill the jobs that were open and available. Now COVID has escalated the issue, and we have a higher number of unemployed Texans, many of whom may need to be upskilled and retrained, to be able to find good jobs,” Tom Luce, chairman of the Board for Texas 2036, said in a statement. “I applaud JPMorgan Chase for engaging in this critical issue and investing in solutions that will expand opportunity and address economic disparities in our city.”
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