JPMorgan Chase commits $5 million to closing skills gap in Dallas

New Skills at Work will unite schools, employers and job seekers in coordinated approach

Dallas, May 6, 2014 – JPMorgan Chase & Co. is committing $5 million toward workforce training in Dallas as part of its unprecedented five-year, $250 million global New Skills at Work initiative.

New Skills at Work is the largest ever private-sector effort aimed at addressing the skills gap that exists across many industries. The effort will unite industry groups, the public sector, academic institutions and other workforce training partners who will work together to equip local students with skills they need.

Like many metropolitan areas around the globe, Dallas does not train enough skilled workers to fill jobs that are readily available. There are 189,600 unemployed workers in Dallas, where the jobless rate hovers at 6 percent. According to an IMF analysis, the skills gap accounts for approximately one-third of unfilled jobs nationwide.

Underemployment also is a significant issue. "A staggering 127,000 people across Dallas, Collin, Rockwall and southern Denton counties are employed but still live below the federal poverty line," according to a report by the United Way of Metropolitan Dallas.

Chase announced today its first local New Skills at Work grant - $500,000 to the Dallas County Community College District. The grant will enable DCCCD to accelerate its training program so that more Certified Nursing Aides can become Patient Care Technicians. The certification enables participants to increase their earning power by 20 percent in less than six months. The training also puts graduates on a path for higher-skilled positions. DCCCD is the primary provider of health-professions education in Dallas County.

“North Texas is well positioned to succeed in the world economy, but one significant challenge holds us back: we don’t produce enough skilled workers for jobs our employers are eager to fill,” said Anne Motsenbocker, President of the South Middle Market for Chase. “We have a fundamental responsibility to coordinate a response and find a solution. Meeting this challenge will not only pave the way for continued growth, but also will help workers secure a career that will provide for their families.”

New Skills at Work will provide much-needed research about employer demand, which will help Dallas-area programs tailor their training to local workplace realities. The initiative will produce Workforce Readiness Gap Reports that will identify holes in the local job market and the skills needed to fill the identified gaps.

“Addressing the skills gap will reduce unemployment in Dallas, providing greater stability and prosperity for families across our city,” said Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings. “This collaboration with JPMorgan Chase and other community partners is a strong commitment to our workforce and to our future.”
The Dallas Regional Chamber will host a panel discussion about the New Skills at Work initiative at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday May 6. Participants will include Mayor Rawlings, Dallas Community College Executive District Director Mary Brumbach, Methodist Health System President Stephen Mansfield and Signal Metal Industries CEO Ryan Robinson.

“Our company truly is on the front lines of the skills gap. This is a very real issue facing our city,” said Robinson, whose company employs 180 workers. Signal Metal would immediately grow its staff by 20 percent if Robinson could find candidates with the proper training, he said.  Starting salaries for these jobs would be up to $60,000.

“These are careers the modern American worker can be proud of,” Robinson said.

 New Skills at Work research and programming will focus on major U.S. and European urban areas, with an initial focus on Chicago, Columbus, Dallas, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, the San Francisco Bay Area and London. The initiative will work with best in class partners, including the Aspen Institute’s Forum for Community Solutions, the National Academy Foundation, Jobs for the Future, Year Up and YouthBuild.

About JPMorgan Chase & Co.
JPMorgan Chase & Co. has 242 branches and 13,500 employees in North Texas, making it one of the top employers in DFW. Chase contributed $4 million to two landmark projects in Dallas- the Klyde Warren Park and Perot Museum of Nature and Science. In the past three years, Chase has hired more than 1,400 veterans in Texas – more than any other state in the country. It has also provided more than 60 mortgage-free homes to military families in Texas.