BATON ROUGE, Louisiana--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Today, Governor Bobby Jindal announced that JPMorgan Chase & Co. is committing $1 million to the Foundation for Louisiana's Community & Technical Colleges to fund statewide workforce training and connect more students with the state’s powerful industrial expansion.
Once approved for matching funds by the Louisiana Board of Regents, the grant would be the first to tap into the state’s $40 million Workforce and Innovation for a Stronger Economy Fund, or WISE Fund. Through a 4-to-1 matching formula, the JPMorgan Chase grant would be transformed into a $5 million combined contribution. The investment is part of the bank’s unprecedented five-year, $250 million global New Skills at Work initiative.
Governor Jindal said, “Today is a great day for our state and for higher education in Louisiana. Because of the many companies expanding in our state, tens of thousands of jobs are now in the pipeline that must be filled, and our challenge is to ensure we have the skilled workforce to fill these jobs of the future. Economists have said they have never seen an industrial expansion like the one currently underway in Louisiana, but have also warned that we will need many more skilled workers to fill the demand for jobs at the major industrial and high-tech projects coming to Louisiana.
“That’s why our top priority must be making sure we partner with private companies like JPMorgan Chase to ensure we have the resources to prepare our students and train them for these jobs- and it’s why the WISE fund was created. Today’s commitment by JPMorgan Chase will go a long way to help train our students for the jobs of the future and continue moving our economy forward.”
The Board of Regents is scheduled to vote on approval for the match later today.
“Helping people gain the work skills they need will transform lives and strengthen our state’s economy,” said John Kallenborn, President of JPMorgan Chase in Louisiana. “Every day, employers tell us they can’t fill good-paying jobs because there simply aren’t enough trained workers. Working with the WISE Fund, we can provide great careers for our citizens and continued economic prosperity for Louisiana.”
The Louisiana Workforce Commission’s Occupational Forecast predicts that in the next 5-10 years, the state will experience a shortage of more than 80,000 skilled workers. The investment by JPMorgan Chase and the WISE Fund will allow Louisiana’s Work Ready U (Adult Education) program to expand innovative credentialing courses specifically designed to meet the workforce training needs of Louisiana residents who lack a high school equivalency, underserved populations and employers.
Workforce training will be specifically provided in high-demand, high-wage industries across the state such as welding, pipefitting technology, electrical, advanced manufacturing, petroleum technology and process technology.
“We are in the midst of the greatest economic expansion of our time,” said Monty Sullivan, president of Louisiana’s Community and Technical Colleges. “The workforce demand is unprecedented, and for JPMorgan Chase, a global financial leader, to quickly respond is verification of their commitment to the long term success of Louisiana and its people. Today’s investment will help our colleges meet the demand and improve lives. This is yet another example of the kinds of partnerships that are required to provide our citizens the training they need to be successful in this economy.”
The WISE Fund is specifically targeted to advance Louisiana to national competitiveness. This plan seeks to strategically align new investments in higher education with the workforce needs of the exciting and emerging growth sectors in our economy. The WISE Fund also seeks a stronger partnership with Louisiana’s business and industry leaders through an industry matching program that will spur private investment in public universities and colleges statewide.
The need for more workforce training in Louisiana is great. More than $80 billion of large-scale energy construction projects are scheduled in Louisiana over next 5 years. There are nearly 4 million unfilled jobs in the United States, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The IMF estimates one-third of U.S. unemployment is due to the skills gap, and the National Skills Coalition estimates that 56 percent of job openings in Louisiana over the next eight years will be middle-skilled.
About JPMorgan Chase & Co.
JPMorgan Chase & Co. has 3,400 employees in Louisiana, making it one of the largest non-governmental employers in the state. Chase has 156 branches and more than 1 million consumer customers statewide. Since Hurricane Katrina, Chase has donated more than $34 million to non-profits working in Louisiana.
About Louisiana Community & Technical Colleges
The Louisiana Community and Technical College System (LCTCS) provides strategic management and support for Louisiana's 13 community and technical colleges. Our colleges award associates degrees, technical diplomas, and industry-based certificates in programs that are aligned with business and industry and local economies, which lead students to good paying middle class jobs.