Economic opportunity seems increasingly out of reach for millions of young Americans. It is a crisis when only 60 percent of students in high-poverty urban school districts graduate from high school, when more than five million young people are out of work and and out of school. Making change in this situation is JPMorgan Chase & Co. which believes that every young person in the States deserves economic success. It has just announced a new $75 million investment, New Skills for Youth, to expand high-quality, career-focused education programs that will lead to well-paid jobs and long-term careers.
The company knows that failing to prepare young people with the right skills and education for jobs is not just a missed opportunity for them—it’s a missed opportunity for businesses to hire the talent they need to grow and compete. Employers are struggling to fill middle-skill jobs in computer technology, nursing, advanced manufacturing and other fields that require technical education and training. Too few young people are receiving the education or training in high-school and in further education that would put them on track to qualify for such skill-based positions. By the age of 25, only one out of every two young Americans has a meaningful post-secondary credential that enables them to compete for a good-paying job.
In the U.S., youth unemployment rate is more than double the national rate. Low-income people and young people of colour are most vulnerable to missing out on opportunities to advance economically because they have not received the right skills or training. More than one in five young African American and Latino young people are neither working nor in school for lack of strong connections to the job market or the education system. As a result, they are earning lower wages and relying more on social services.
The New Skills for Youth program will help prepare America’s students for the jobs of the 21st century through hands-on learning experiences to end up with good-paying, high-demand jobs. JPMorgan Chase is actively investing in high-quality career-focused education programs so that more young people have a shot at real economic opportunity. It is building on a set of philanthropic investments to increase economic opportunity; in an increasingly digital world, companies that want to remain competitive need to step up and provide the training necessary to create a highly-skilled workforce for an advanced manufacturing environment.
Education has always been the great equaliser in America, but for too many young people access to quality skills training remains out of reach. Closing this gap requires successful collaboration between many partners from local organisations, educators, government and the business community who must work together to ensure that zip codes do not determine the destiny for America’s young people. This investment from JPMorgan Chase could help make this vision into a reality.
Photo Credit: JPMorgan Chase & Co
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