That record has gotten better in Detroit in recent years, and now JPMorgan Chase is hoping to improve the performance even more.
The bank, as part of its $100-million commitment to Detroit redevelopment efforts, has selected 22 workforce training professionals for a yearlong Detroit Workforce System Leadership Development Academy.
Drawn from organizations including Focus: HOPE, Goodwill Industries, and the City of Detroit, the 22 participants will take part in retreats, seminars, and training programs to expose them to data findings and best practices culled from nationwide experience.
Chauncy Lennon, head of workforce initiatives for JPMorgan Chase, said the yearlong intensive training is meant to overcome the most common problems afflicting workforce training efforts that try to give recent or chronically unemployed people the skills needed for new jobs.
“A lot of times employers are to blame. They’re not good at signaling what they’re looking for, how their skills demands are shifting. Then I think there’s often a challenge on the supply side. A lot of these organizations are running on a shoestring and don’t have the resources to really be tied into data and labor market information.”
JPMorgan Chase is sponsoring the academy in partnership with the Corporation for a Skilled Workforce and the Aspen Institute. As part of JPMorgan Chase’s $100-million commitment to the city’s economic recovery, the company awarded $200,000 to CSW to create the program.
“As a result of this program, this exciting group of local leaders will be able to come up with innovative and practical solutions that connect Detroiters to open jobs in a way they’ve never done before,” Lennon said.
Workforce training has taken on an urgency in recent decades as hundreds of thousands of industrial workers in Michigan saw their factories shuttered and their economic security threatened. But retraining programs often failed to find good jobs for displaced workers and critics said that job training money was often wasted. The performance has gotten better in recent years and more linked to actual job openings but problems persist training ex-offenders, poorly educated people, and others facing special challenges.
The program includes an opening retreat for participants in late January, five full-day working sessions from March to September, a second retreat in November, and a closing presentation event in December. It is one in a number of strategies to help offer solutions to some of Detroit’s most intractable workforce issues.
The academy participants from Detroit will join leaders in a growing network of fellows from similar academies in Baltimore, Seattle, and Toronto.
“This cohort of 22 leaders represents a direct investment in the bedrock of the Detroit workforce system that will influence organizations key to the city’s growth and pay dividends for years to come,” said Jeannine La Prad, president and CEO of the Corporation for a Skilled Workforce.