JPMorgan Chase & Co. has announced a five-year, $75 million global initiative to address the youth unemployment crisis and expand young people's access to economic opportunity.
New Skills for Youth, as the initiative is called, aims to boost the number of students who complete career pathways that lead to postsecondary degrees or credentials aligned with high-demand, high-wage jobs in computer technology, nursing, advanced manufacturing, and other fields. Among other things, the initiative will seek to transform how U.S. states design and deliver career-focused education and will work to promote global innovation in the field. In partnership with the Council of Chief State School Officers and the National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium, the initiative will award grants of $100,000 this spring to up to twenty-five states to help underwrite the planning and early implementation of long-term career readiness education programs and will follow up later this year with a second round of grants ranging between $1.5 million and $2 million over three years to as many as ten states to implement and assess their programs.
The banking and financial services giant also will invest in city and school programs around the world that are developing effective models of high-quality career-focused education, with the goal of increasing the number of low-income youth who earn meaningful postsecondary and workforce credentials and helping educators, policy makers, training providers, and employers identify and replicate the most promising approaches.
Currently, only 52 percent of Americans under the age of 25 have a meaningful postsecondary credential that enables them to compete for a well-paying job, while the U.S. youth unemployment rate is more than double the overall rate.
"State education leaders have demonstrated a strong commitment to making sure all children are not only prepared for college but ready for careers once they graduate from high school," said CCSSO executive director Chris Minnich. "Through CCSSO's Career Readiness Initiative, states are creating bold plans to reinvent learning so every child has the opportunity to experience a meaningful career pathway that prepares them for the high-skill, high-demand needs of today's economy. This historic investment from JPMorgan Chase will help states make this vision a reality in the next several years."