Chase, Columbus Foundation Collaborate on Central Ohio Workforce Action Plan

Columbus - February 12, 2015 – JPMorgan Chase & Co. and The Columbus Foundation today released complementary action plans focused on helping prepare central Ohio adults and students to fill the high-demand, middle-skill jobs in the region.

The Columbus Foundation's report, Opportunity Awaits: Reconnecting Franklin County Young Adults to School and Work, focuses on the education and employment challenges facing young adults, age 18 to 25, who are not college bound. The report identifies more than 20,000 "opportunity youth" in the region who are neither working nor enrolled in school.

"The research confirms the needs and challenges facing young adults with multiple barriers to employment," said Douglas F. Kridler, president and CEO. "And it points to the benefits of a strong local economy, an economy where there are employment opportunities that offer financial stability for those prospective employees who are prepared. By working more collaboratively and strategically, our community can reduce barriers to education attainment and gainful employment for young adults."

The report from JPMorgan Chase, Skills in Demand: Building a Middle-Skill Workforce to Grow the Columbus Economy, focuses on the skills gap between the region's middle-skill jobs and the preparedness of local residents for positions in the growing healthcare and insurance sectors. Currently more than one in four jobs in Columbus are middle skill and nearly 10,000 middle skill job openings, including 4,700 in healthcare and insurance sector, are projected every year through 2018. These jobs pay a median hourly wage of $22.30 which is significantly higher than the region's living wage. However, over 145,000 Central Ohioans don't have a high school diploma and lack the right skills to get a job in one of these growing Columbus-based sectors.

The report is part of New Skills at Work, the firm's five-year, $250 million global workforce readiness and demand-driven training initiative. JPMorgan Chase is investing $5 million to support central Ohio workforce programs.

"The reports reinforce the strength of the Columbus economy and the quality of the education and training infrastructure that already exists," said Chauncy Lennon, JPMorgan Chase's head of workforce initiatives. "The key is to connect the dots; to ensure that the community and its resources are aligned in a manner that leads to success for individuals and employers."

Members of the region's Congressional delegation and Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman expressed their support for the research and resulting recommendations.

"These workforce blueprints highlight the importance of education and training, and the need to continue to build an ever better pipeline of skilled workers for in-demand occupations. Collaborations like this help strengthen workforce opportunities for women, minorities and young adults and benefit central Ohio, our state, and our nation," said U.S. Rep. Joyce Beatty, D-Jefferson Township.

"I applaud JPMorgan Chase and The Columbus Foundation for taking the lead in studying these matters that are so critical to the success of our community," said Columbus Mayor Michael B. Coleman. "By taking a close look at the findings from these reports, we have a great opportunity to implement recommendations that will fulfill the growing needs of our young adults, as well as adequately prepare our expanding workforce for the high skills jobs in our city."

"I am excited about this study and appreciate the collaborative effort on this project," U.S. Rep. Steve Stivers, R-Upper Arlington, said. "It was surprising to me that our community has almost 30,000 young adults who are neither working, nor enrolled in school, while many employers struggle to fill middle skill level jobs. Hopefully this effort can bridge the gap between this untapped labor pool and the unmet need, by getting people the necessary skills to succeed in these jobs."

"Quality employers and community leaders understand the power of collaboration, and how big picture ideas can translate into specific actions that can help create jobs. These studies are truly a blueprint for putting people to work, empowering members of our community, strengthening families, and growing the central Ohio economy," said U.S. Rep. Pat Tiberi, R-Genoa Township.

Among the recommendations of the two reports:

  • Avoid a "one size fits all" approach to skills training and certification. Recognize the uniqueness of the needs of "opportunity youth," and create customized programs to bridge those needs.
  • Learn from programmatic models that have been launched in other communities.
  • Use the data as a tool to target employers and skills, and keep the data refreshed to accurately reflect the evolving economic environment.
  • Expand access to programs through prudent public policies, education and communication, and through a cooperative public, private and philanthropic funding strategy.

The full reports are posted on The Columbus Foundation and JPMorgan Chase & Co. websites.

The Columbus Foundation is the trusted philanthropic advisor® to more than 2,000 individuals, families, businesses, and communities that have created unique funds to make a difference in the lives of others through the most effective philanthropy possible. Serving the region for more than 70 years, The Columbus Foundation is the seventh largest community foundation in the United States. The Foundation’s online giving marketplace, PowerPhilanthropy®, makes it possible for everyone to access valuable information about nonprofit organizations in central Ohio. Visit www.columbusfoundation.org to learn more.