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JPMorgen Chase executives present United Way of Metropolitan Dallas with a $500,000 check to support its Pathways to Work program, equipping North Texans with the skills they need for financially secure futures.

JPMorgan Chase & Co. is investing $500,000 in United Way of Metropolitan Dallas to support its Pathways to Work program, equipping North Texans for career advancing middle-skill jobs.  Pathways to Work, led by United Way, is a partnership between employers, funders and training providers to prepare people with post-secondary skill training and credentials that lead to better paying jobs.  Job training and placement are key components of United Way’s community goal to move 250,000 people out of poverty permanently.

Middle skill jobs require a high school diploma and some training or college, but not a four-year college degree.  According to JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s recent New Skills at Work report, the average median salary of middle-skill jobs is $50,000, 35% higher than the region’s living wage.  Nearly 42,000 middle-skill job openings are projected every year through 2018. 

“Middle-skill job training plays a critical role in the future of our community,” said Anne Motsenbocker, head of Middle Market Banking in Texas for JPMorgan Chase & Co.  “Together with United Way, we’re committed to bridging the skills gap to create job pathways.  This will create opportunities for hardworking Texans to start in an entry-level position and move up the ladder to a better-paying job.  It’s a key strategy in helping thousands achieve financial stability.”

The grant will enable Pathways to Work, aligned with New Skills at Work report recommendations, to serve more clients and expand strategies in four key areas to improve job opportunities: 

  • Partner with funders to increase investment in middle-skill training and certification programs
  • Coordinate better communication between training providers and employers to assess strengths, challenges, needs, and opportunities for new partnerships
  • Expand the capacity of current and new training providers to deliver job-readiness training and basic skills education that align with middle-skill career pathways
  • Analyze labor market data and industry insights while evaluating outcomes to improve program design and delivery

“By leveraging powerful corporate and community partnerships, Pathways to Work is effectively addressing the growing need for a more highly skilled workforce,” said Susan Hoff, Chief Strategy & Operating Officer, United Way of Metropolitan Dallas. “We’re creating a platform for meaningful, long-lasting and well-paying careers- putting more North Texans on the path to financially secure futures.” 

The biggest need for middle-skill workers is in healthcare and information technology.  Middle-skill jobs accounted for 45 percent of all healthcare jobs in 2013 across North Texas, followed by 32 percent of IT jobs.  Such healthcare jobs are projected to grow 21 percent, and IT jobs 7 percent through 2018.  Focused on these two areas, United Way has invested nearly $400,000 in new programs that provide valuable middle-skill credentials including:

The Nurse Aid Certification Program provided by El Centro Community College in Mesquite teaches skills essential to the basic care of hospital patients and residents in long-term care.  Participants can earn up to four credentials – Nurses’ Aid, EKG, Phlebotomy, and the Community Health Workers Certification—that provide an entry point to a variety of allied health and nursing careers. 

The Per Scholas IT-Ready Initiative provides technology job training, certification, placement and career development services in a rapid 8-week program.  Participants can earn the Comp TIA A+ certification and are prepared for a variety of entry-level positions in IT, such as data center technicians, desktop support specialists, IT support analysts and network field technicians.

Dallas native Alex Hernandez completed the IT job training at Per Scholas, preparing him for his current job at Turner Construction.  Prior to Per Scholas, Hernandez held low-wage jobs and lived paycheck to paycheck.  Since graduation, he is earning three times what he made in previous positions.  “When I think about money, I think long-term- not just how I’ll make it month to month,” says Hernandez.  “Now I think about buying my first home and planning for retirement.”