Too many Detroiters either lack the skills needed for today’s jobs or don’t have the connections … the networks … they need to find the jobs.
A $1.3 million investment by JPMorgan Chase & Co. hopes to fix that. The dollars will go to increase the number of Detroiters receiving skills training for in-demand jobs and to strengthen partnerships between job seekers, local employers and training providers.
It’s all part of JPMorgan Chase’s $100 million commitment to Detroit’s economic recovery. The new grants will support the Detroit Employment Solutions Corporation, United Way for Southeastern Michigan and Corporation for a Skilled Workforce (CSW).
There will be a new leadership development academy for local workforce professionals to improve connections between Detroiters and existing job openings in growing local industries and to address the skills mismatch between local employers and job seekers.
About 6,200 more Detroiters are working today than in January 2016, and the city’s employment growth is outpacing overall U.S. growth, according to the City of Detroit.
Still, a series of reports released earlier this year by JPMorgan Chase and CSW found Detroit has a relatively weak labor force with only 62 percent of Detroiters between the ages of 16 and 64 employed. Additionally, many residents do not have the necessary skill and education levels to qualify for good-paying local jobs while workforce training programs were not well enough aligned with the needs of residents and employers.
The reports identified specific opportunities for the city’s workforce infrastructure, funding, organizations and programs, including the Mayor’s Detroit Workforce Development Board, to work together to help job seekers and employers.
The first report, “Detroit’s Untapped Talent,” mapped out major challenges facing the city’s workforce, including a shortage of jobs suitable for Detroit workers’ skill levels and the need for training programs to help workers attain the skills sought for available jobs.
The second report identified specific opportunities for the city’s workforce infrastructure, funding, organizations and programs to work together to help job seekers and employers.
“By aligning our investments with the city’s workforce priorities, we are giving more residents the chance to climb the economic ladder and gain critical job skills and we are helping workforce leaders build effective job training and employer engagement programs,” says Chauncy Lennon, head of workforce initiatives, JPMorgan Chase.
To tackle Detroit’s biggest workforce challenges, JPMorgan Chase’s new workforce investments include:
- Corporation for a Skilled Workforce ($490,000): CSW will facilitate a new Detroit Workforce System Leadership Development Academy for local workforce professionals. This academy will provide Detroit workforce leaders with an opportunity to collaborate on developing practical solutions to solve some of the city’s most challenging workforce issues. The academy will leverage and build on the expertise of leaders across the workforce community to help up to 20 local senior workforce leaders better engage employers, understand industry workforce needs, develop successful career pathway strategies and strengthen connections between training providers, job seekers and employers.
This year-long learning program is advised by an executive-level, Detroit-based council and will be led by local leaders and guest faculty from across the nation.
If you’re interested in interested participating, want to review the program requirements and submit an application click here.
The grant will also support the expansion of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education and Training (SNAP E & T) pilot in Detroit. This program will maximize the workforce system’s access to and ability to leverage non-federal training dollars. That money is key to helping workforce readiness training programs provide more services and opening doors to employment opportunities.
Jeannine LaPrad, CEO, Corporation for a Skilled Workforce, points out the SNAP E & T Expansion program positions Detroit with a handful of other cities across the nation that are proactively pursuing this opportunity for residents.
“JPMorgan Chase’s grant will be instrumental in advancing the leadership culture of learning and innovation that Detroit’s leaders are working to build,” says LaPrad. “Through the Academy, local leaders will increase their capacity to tackle persistent employment challenges for Detroit residents and employers. Overall, this grant helps Detroit be on the leading edge of workforce system transformation.”
- Detroit Employment Solutions Corporation ($680,000): The demand-driven Detroit training program will provide 100 pre-apprenticeships that are focused on career-specific skills development for jobs in the information technology, manufacturing, healthcare, advanced manufacturing and transportation/logistics industries.
“The city of Detroit is seeing significant demand in a number of key occupational sectors, and we need to ensure that a pipeline of skilled talent is available to support that demand,” says Jose Reyes, interim president and CEO, Detroit Employment Solutions Corporation. “This award from JPMorgan Chase aligns exactly with that need, and will allow many Detroiters to acquire the skills they need to access long-term careers in major growth industries.”
DESC provided services to more than 23,000 jobseekers last program year, and more than 1,500 Metro-Detroit businesses.
- United Way for Southeastern Michigan ($150,000): Through its Access for All program the Detroit Regional Workforce Fund (DRWF), will create a pipeline of 100 new workers that have the necessary training and skills for careers in the construction and manufacturing industries. Access for All is a public-private community-union-management collaborative partnership formed to train individuals to work in the construction industry. The investment will also will support the growth of a prisoner re-entry program that connects ex-offenders to employment opportunities in skilled trades and other critical services.
“We want to thank JPMorgan Chase for providing the funding to support the growth of Access for All, a market-driven demand strategy of the DRWF that provides pathways to opportunities, including a pipeline of 100 new workers for careers in the skilled trades industries,” says Karen Tyler-Ruiz, Director, Detroit Regional Workforce Fund.
The DRWF looks for to gaps in the workforce and trains unemployed or underemployed Detroiters for those jobs. It is housed at United Way for Southeastern Michigan and is a fiduciary collaborative of public-private sector organizations.
“As Detroit comes back, we want to make sure that Detroiters are participating in the turnaround – and that means having the skills to secure available jobs,” said Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan. “JPMorgan Chase’s latest investments will help continue to fuel our employment growth by providing skills training for our residents. This is great news for Detroiters and businesses seeking a well-trained workforce.”