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JPMorgan Chase Launches $250 Million Global Economic Opportunity Initiative

JPMorgan Chase & Co. today launched an unprecedented five-year, $250 million global workforce readiness and demand-driven training initiative called New Skills at Work. The new initiative will be the largest ever private-sector effort aimed at addressing the “skills gap” that exists across many industries, such as healthcare and advanced manufacturing, where not enough trained workers have the specific skills to fill the jobs available.

The announcement was made at an event in Washington, DC hosted by the Aspen Institute featuring JPMorgan Chase Chairman and CEO Jamie Dimon, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, former Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council Melody Barnes, and Aspen President and CEO Walter Isaacson.

According to an IMF analysis, the skills gap accounts for approximately one-third of the U.S. unemployment rate. By 2020, an estimated 63% of the projected 48 million job openings will require some sort of post-secondary school training. Using research and data analysis, public-private partnerships and engagement with local leaders and organizations, New Skills at Work will accelerate economic growth by supporting training programs that will have the greatest impact.

“Addressing the skills gap can be one of our most powerful tools for reducing unemployment and creating more broadly shared prosperity,” said Jamie Dimon, chairman and chief executive officer of JPMorgan Chase. “JPMorgan is using its best assets, including industry intelligence and strong partnerships in local communities, to provide a platform for employers, educators and workforce participants to help people gain the skills they need to succeed.”

Dimon will chair the JPMorgan Chase Global Workforce Advisory Council, which will bring together a group of private sector, non-profit, education and workforce development thought leaders to ensure the effectiveness of the effort. The Advisory Council will advise on the development, implementation and evaluation of New Skills at Work. Melody Barnes, former Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council, will co-chair the Council.

One of the key challenges is that too little data about employer demand is available to inform workforce training programs. New Skills at Work will fill that void by producing Workforce Readiness Gap Reports in local markets to help drive more effective and strategic local workforce planning. This research will explore regional level workforce deficiencies and challenges and seek to identify holes in local job markets and the skills needed to fill identified gaps. The data will be used to inform program development efforts with both the supply and demand sides of the skills gap challenge. On the demand side, the data will help business groups and sector associations to broadcast the skills they need to compete and prosper. On the supply side, the data will help leading national workforce training groups including the Aspen Institute’s Forum for Community Solutions, the Institute for Public Policy Research, the National Academy Foundation, Jobs for the Future, Participle, Year Up and YouthBuild develop the training programs and credentials targeted to meet employer demands.

“Our work with JPMorgan Chase is vitally important to the future success of America’s workforce,” said Steve Patrick, executive director of The Aspen Forum for Community Solutions at The Aspen Institute. “In our country, 6.8 million young people graduate high school unprepared to meet the needs of a 21st century economy, and with this new initiative, we can create the capacity to drive solutions that connect youth to careers vital to America’s growth.”

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