DENVER — JPMorgan Chase announced a $7 million commitment in Denver students as part of its global career readiness initiative.

It will develop pathways and policy recommendations that give undeserved students access to higher education and real-world work experiences that lead to high-wage, in-demand jobs. 

The official announcement is scheduled for 2 p.m. Wednesday during an event at Pinnacol Assurance, a Colorado-based workers compensation insurer known for its robust apprenticeship program. 

Denver is the first of 10 global cities to receive multi-million-dollar career readiness investment.

Denver is an example of a career pathways program that works, JPMorgan Chase said.

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Through a prior $4 million gift from the financial giant, Denver educators and community partners have been on the leading edge of innovation in developing impactful career pathways.

For example, the odds of on-time graduation for at-risk Denver Public Schools (DPS) students increased by 40% for students who participated in two to five DPS CareerConnect courses or in immersive work-based summer learning, according to the financial institution.                                 

 “Too many young people are being left behind without the education, skills and experience needed to get well-paying jobs,” said Jamie Dimon, Chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase. “Now, more than ever, businesses, government, and communities must work together to prepare young people for the future of work so they have a better shot at building a good financial life for themselves and their families.”

Specifically in Denver, the money will support a new collaborative effort to build on the city's strong youth apprenticeship system by developing seamless connections between high school and higher education. 

According to the 2019 Colorado Talent Pipeline Report, over 86%  of Colorado’s Tier 1 top jobs require some type of post-secondary education (certificate, Associate’s, Bachelor’s degree or above).

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Many Denver residents are unable to access better paying jobs and more economic opportunity because they don’t have the credentials they need.

The DPS Career and College Success team has recently expanded their nationally-recognized K-12 career pathways model (DPS CareerConnect) throughout the city, built the nation’s largest district-run work-based learning program, partnered with CareerWise Colorado in the launch of a first-of-its kind state youth apprenticeship system, and significantly increased industry credentials and college credit available in its career pathways. 

With this investment, Denver Education Attainment Network (DEAN) will lead a collaborative effort between DPS, and community colleges and technical schools to focus on careers in industries that have been identified as offering well-paying jobs and projected job growth. They include fields such as healthcare, business, IT, and cybersecurity.

“In the past four years, we’ve seen strong progress in driving high-quality career pathways for DPS students,” said DPS Susana Cordova. “This success, including a significant increase in graduation rates, is the result of the hard work of our students and educators, boosted by deep partnerships and collaboration across all sectors to lift up our students.

I’m inspired by this progress and excited to continue strengthening apprenticeship programs through better connections between high school and higher education.”

The nine other selected sites will be announced in the coming months.

Five years ago, JPMorgan Chase invested $75 million through New Skills for Youth to support states and regions to dramatically increase the number of young people completing high-quality career pathways that start in high school and culminate in credentials that have value in the labor market by transforming the design and delivery of career-focused education. 

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