Over the past several decades, Detroit has seen a profound shift in its industrial base and corresponding employment opportunities. Investing in workforce readiness efforts that prepare Detroit’s residents for the available jobs today, and the growth sectors of tomorrow, is an essential component of the city’s long-term success and a powerful way to expand access to opportunity for its residents.

The continued growth of Detroit’s vibrant business sector depends on companies being able to find workers with the necessary skills—yet recent data suggest Detroit businesses are having difficulty doing so. This particularly is true for middle-skill jobs—those that require a high school diploma and some postsecondary technical training but not a four-year college degree.

What we are doing

JPMorgan Chase is committing $12.5 million

to support Detroit’s workforce readiness efforts as part of our five-year New Skills at Work, initiative which is aimed at helping close the skills gap around the world. Our investments are focused on:

Providing Data and Supporting Research

To help inform the efforts of leading workforce development organizations, we are supporting research and providing data about the sectors and occupations where employers are having the most difficulty filling job vacancies. We are funding the creation of a Detroit Skills Gap Report, which will help us and our partners be even more strategic in working with employers, education and training providers, and job seekers to close the skills gap.

We also are supporting organizations that are working to provide actionable labor market intelligence. One of our inaugural partners is the Workforce Intelligence Network (WIN), a collaborative effort among nine community colleges, seven workforce boards and economic development partners, that seeks to align education and training programs with the needs of the region’s industries. The WIN team is performing cutting-edge research to help the community understand key innovations that likely will dramatically change the way the region does business, creates new jobs and shapes talent.

Linking Skills Training to Employer Demand

We are investing in partners working to better align training programs with the needs of local employers and preparing job seekers for available opportunities in Detroit’s unique local sectors and surrounding industries. For example, one of our first partnerships is with Detroit Employment Solutions Corporation (DESC), the agency that provides services to more than 50,000 Detroit job seekers every year, and to over 5,500 Detroit businesses. Our funding will help DESC provide Detroit residents with technical skills training for targeted occupations in the information technology, manufacturing and healthcare sectors.

Investing in Training Providers

We are investing in proven training providers to help them build capacity and scale their programs. Our goal is to help more young people and adults attain the credentials needed to compete for skilled employment opportunities that can put them on a career pathway. Some of our initial partners are The Greening of Detroit, which trains individuals for jobs in landscaping, forestry and agriculture; Focus: HOPE, which provides a machinist training program and information technology certification programs; and Goodwill Industries, which provides skills training programs for disengaged youth.

Expanding Summer Youth Employment

Summer jobs are a great way to give Detroit’s youth a chance to earn wages while learning about different careers in the community. To help bolster the number of summer jobs available in Detroit, in 2014, we are providing $500,000 to the Detroit Youth Employment Consortium (DYEC) to expand employment experiences for young people aged 14–21. In 2013, DYEC’s Grow Detroit’s Young Talent program placed 1,900 young people in paid work experiences while raising approximately $2.7 million to underwrite the work and subsidize youth wages.