Dec. 12 (UPI) — JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon announced a new initiative Thursday in conjunction with Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel to investing $250 million to bridge the “skills gap” plaguing Americans in a hunt for employment.
The “New Skills at Work” initiative is named the largest private sector initiative toward fighting unemployment, which in the U.S. currently stands at 7 percent. The idea is to match worker skills to employers needs. JPMorgan is committing $50 million annually over the next five years in urban areas across America and Europe.
This comes as a larger effort in reputation management from the largest U.S. banks. “JPMorgan Chase, for 100 years, for 200 years, has always tried to be a great community citizen,” Mr. Dimon said to the New York Times.
He said at an Aspen Institute forum in Washington on Thursday that the program has nothing to do with amending its reputation in the wake of its record-breaking $13 billion settlement with the U.S. government regarding selling overstated mortgage-backed securities.
While cities receiving funding will be announced in early 2014, Chicago will be among the first cities to pilot the program led by Mayor Emanuel. Dimon lived in Chicago for seven years prior to moving to New York to head JPMorgan.
“Closing the skills gap has to be one of the top priorities of our economic development efforts around the nation,” said Mayor Emanuel in a statement. “In Chicago, we have focused on training our students to ensure they have the skills and education they’ll need to get the jobs that will be available in the future.”
City colleges and programs will be a part of the process in allocating resources.
“Around the nation, we must direct our collective effort on similar missions, and I’m grateful that JP Morgan Chase has put so much energy and resources into addressing these critical issues,” Emanuel said. “I look forward to working with all Americans to make progress on these important economic issues and get people into good jobs and careers.”