JPMorgan Chase launches $350 million workforce initiative

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JPMorgan Chase will provide $350 million over five years to community colleges and job training programs for in-demand positions as part of an effort by the lender to help prepare the next generation of U.S. workers, the company announced on Monday.

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Of the total amount, $200 million is slated for nonprofits and other grantees to be used to launch new training programs, $125 million to improve coordination between community colleges and employers and $25 million to improve labor market research for use by the federal government and companies to help direct investments.

Standout community colleges “don’t just connect to business in an episodic way. They really position themselves as part of the solution for business long-term,” Jennie Sparandara, executive director of Chase’s global workforce, told FOX Business. “We want to see more of that across the United States.”

The investment builds upon a $250 million commitment from five years ago that Chase says assisted 150,000 individuals across 37 countries in finding middle-skill jobs that do not require a four-year college degree.

With decades-low unemployment in the U.S., employers are finding it more difficult to hire qualified workers. Roughly 72 percent of American manufacturers listed attracting and keeping a talented workforce as a top concern in 2019, according to a quarterly survey from the National Association of Manufacturers.

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And as competition in the labor market heats up, businesses are employing a number of new strategies to try to attract the skilled workforce they need. Retailers, for example, are hiking minimum wage, providing more vacation time and offering paid college educations, among other things.

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Alongside efforts by the private industry, the Trump administration also previously announced a workforce initiative that includes top executives like Apple CEO Tim Cook. The group met earlier this month.

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