JPMorgan announces $6 million investment to expand IT at DC area schools


Photo courtesy of JP Morgan Chase & Co

Zara Hall and Saige Gootman

JPMorgan Chase & Co has committed $6 million to “expand access to economic opportunity” for students in the Greater Washington region. The investment hopes to increase the number of high school and college graduates prepared to work in technology jobs. “We have a responsibility to build a better future for the region’s young people,” JP Morgan Chase & Co. Chairman and CEO Jamie Dimon said.

The firm has plans to invest a total of $350 million in “jobs and skills development” around the world as a part of their “New Skills for Youth” initiative. Money for the Greater Washington region will go to six school districts: Baltimore County Public Schools, DC Public Schools, Fairfax County Public Schools, Montgomery County Public Schools, and Prince George’s County Public Schools.

“New Skills for Youth” has three goals it hopes to achieve: 2,200 internships for students in IT career pathways, a new system that enables educators to use regional labor market data on an ongoing basis to ensure that career pathways are aligned with employer demand, and 3,200 more students participating in career pathway programs that connect with careers in fields including computer science and cybersecurity.

The investment comes after Amazon announced that it would be opening its second headquarters in Crystal City, Virginia, which will greatly increase the number of local jobs in technology. Several colleges around the area have announced that they are expanding their computer science pathways, including Virginia Tech, who is creating a new “Innovation Campus” close to the HQ2, and George Mason University, who is creating a School of Computing and technology think tank.

A study done by the Brookings Institution on “Digitalization in the American workforce” shows that technology skills are not only prevalent in IT jobs, but are becoming useful for almost all occupations, including fitness trainers, correctional officers, and truck drivers. They created a digitization score based on the amount of the work day they spend using tools that require digital skills. Overall, from the timeframe of the study in 2002 to 2016, there was an average of a 57 percent increase in the digitization score of all occupations. With “New Skills for Youth,” JP Morgan hopes that more students will graduate with strong technological skills, prepared to enter the changing workforce.