JPMorgan Chase Gives $350M to Workforce Training, Community Colleges

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

JPMorgan Chase gives $350M to workforce training, community colleges

Eyes are on community colleges to provide the training panacea for the current skills gap as well as affordable ways for people to refresh or add to their skill sets throughout their lives.

But the institutions charged with providing these solutions are largely underfunded, according to a recent policy paper from The Aspen Institute's Economic Strategy Group. Its authors recommend a performance-based federal funding program that they say could add 3.6 million 18-to 24-year-olds with college degrees and upskill another 28 million workers by 2030.

The cost is steep, however: $22 billion per year. Still, the researchers say that's what's needed to close the per-student funding gap between community colleges ($11,400) and public four-year institutions ($14,900).

The Aspen proposal focuses on "improving pre-existing public institutions at scale" rather than rolling out "new, untested public programs," while JPMorgan's pledge appears to contain a mix of investments in new and existing programs. Meanwhile, other private-sector players are developing curriculum for community colleges around the needs of their own workforce. One example is an IT support professional certificate from Google on offer at more than two-dozen community colleges through the online learning platform Coursera.

Workforce training has also emerged as a federal priority, with the White House proposing Pell Grant eligibility for short-term programs in both its budget released last week and Higher Education Act reauthorization priorities issued on Monday...

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