JPMorgan ChaseJPMorgan Chase has pledged $75 million to launch their new initiative. Its goal is to close the youth skills gap.

The initiative, New Skills for Youth, aims to address youth unemployment through skills training. The program plans to increase the number of graduates who have the necessary skills that high paying jobs demand.

To accomplish this, New Skills for Youth will gather leaders from government, business and education to implement an improved pathway to employment for schoolchildren. JPMorgan Chase will focus on two areas to improve career-focused education, with one being the local states.

JPMorgan Chase, along with the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) and the National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium, will launch a competition among U.S. states to improve local career education systems.

The goal of the competition is the improvement of career-focused education that ensures a pathway to high skill, high wage jobs. To do this, states will convene local business, education and community leaders to determine the best way to improve preparation for and access to these jobs.

The CCSSO will collect a group of experts to review applications and select winners. With grant funding from JPMorgan Chase, the CCSSO will award $100,000 grants to 20-25 states for early implementation of career readiness programs that align with local skills gaps.

Later in the year, the CCSSO will award the best 10 states with additional funding to fully implement and assess their career-focused education. Each of the 10 states will be allotted close to $2 million over three years.

The competition will force states to create the best methods of closing the skills gaps in their areas. Also, students will receive an improved education that provides access to high wage jobs in demand.

The other focus of the two-pronged initiative is global innovation. New Skills for Youth will invest in schools around the world that are implementing new and effective models of career education.

The aim of the investment is to increase the number of young and low-income students who earn prudent post-secondary degrees and technical certifications. The initiative believes the best programs will be the ones that are aligned with emerging industries.

Many of the emerging industries are struggling to fill well-paid jobs. If students gain the necessary skills, those 21st century jobs could be theirs.

JPMorgan Chase plans to document the results of the New Skills for Youth initiative to help educators and policymakers determine the best approaches for closing the skills gaps.

This is an issue that is in desperate need of being addressed.

According to the International Labour Organization, almost 73 million youth worldwide are seeking employment. They are three times more likely to be unemployed than adults.

Through JPMorgan Chase’s New Skills for Youth, youth around the world will have a better chance of attaining the skills needed to find meaningful employment.

Echoing this sentiment, the CEO of JPMorgan Chase, Jaime Dimon, said to the website, “We are investing in high-quality career-focused education programs so that more young people have a shot at real economic opportunity.”

Andrew Wildes

Sources: Business Wire, ILO
Photo: Just Means

On November 17, 2013, the megabank JP Morgan Chase reached a record civil settlement of $13 billion and still could face criminal charges. The vast majority of the settlement, $9 billion, will go to State and Federal agencies that insured and backed the many bad mortgages the bank doled out from 2006-2009, including a $2 billion fine received by federal prosecutors. Consumers of the bad-faith mortgages will receive the benefit of the remaining $4 billion through a reduction in interest rates, temporary payment deferment, the removal of abandoned homes from low-income neighborhoods and other measures designed to offer relief to those hit hardest by the bank’s improper practices. There is no mention of the bank buying back any of the sour loans, and those who have already foreclosed are out of luck.

As a whole, the settlement stands to make little impact on the banking giant despite the historic figure. JP Morgan Chase revealed they had put aside $23 billion some time earlier just to pay for expected damages. Last year alone the company recorded over $20 billion in profits, and, despite the current litigation, the company’s stock is increasing as the housing market stabilizes. Last year, the US government budgeted just $42 billion in foreign aid and $11.2 billion in war-related aid to Afghanistan and Iraq. Sequestered litigation funds from JP Morgan Chase alone could have paid almost half of that budget.

Syria is embroiled in an incredibly costly war that has left many homeless as they flee the fighting or watch as their homes are destroyed by shelling. With the total number of refugees expected to hit 3 million by the end of this year, the UN has appealed for $5 billion in aid to house and care for these victims. Right now, they are about $2 billion short of that request. Before the US Justice Department transfers their imposed fine to the treasury, think of the millions of Syrians lacking food, healthcare, water and shelter.

Typhoon Haiyan has destroyed or damaged over 240,000 homes in the Philippines and over 800,000 people have been displaced from the storm. Though aid efforts have been swift and generous, rebuilding destruction of that magnitude will not come quickly. Hurricane survivors will need temporary shelter for months while debris is cleared, utility lines are restored and, eventually, homes are rebuilt. Estimates say the country suffered a total of $15 billion in physical damages. Federal and State investors could donate their $7 billion to the recently homeless of the Philippines and easily cover the cost of returning them to shelter.

$13 billion is a massive sum, why not think big? As of July of this year, the UN estimated a need for $12.84 billion to assist the entire world’s crises. One settlement that only represents a little more than half of JPMorgan Chase’s 2012 profits could provide adequate humanitarian relief to the entire world for the year. One company’s misdeeds resulting in relief for millions across over 25 countries; that would be historic.

– Tyson Watkins

Sources: NY Times, USA Today, Reuters, Reuters, NY Times, USAID, Yahoo News
Photo: Business Week