The Breakdown

Explaining Southern California's economy

JPMorgan Chase gives $10 million to LA job training programs

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JPMorgan Chase & Co. said Monday it would invest $10 million to support job training programs in Los Angeles.

The money will be allocated over five years. So far, the nonprofits that received funding for 2014 are:

  • L.A. Chamber Foundation ($300,000)
  • YWCA Greater Los Angeles ($100,000)
  • L.A. Conservation Corps ($200,000)
  • L.A. Business Council Institute ($100,000)
  • Los Angeles Urban League Business and Career WorkSource Center ($75,000)

Joni Topper, region head for JPMorgan Chase’s government, nonprofit and healthcare banking unit, said the grant would help train workers for today and the future. She said there is a job skills gap that is making it hard for companies to fill jobs, even though there are unemployed workers.

"Hopefully we close that gap," Topper said. "Hopefully in another downturn we recover faster. That would be a great outcome."

Los Angeles metro area has high unemployment

L.A. County could use the support. The county had an unemployment rate of 8.7 percent in March, compared to the national unemployment rate of 6.7 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. 

The county has struggled with job growth. Part of the issue is that L.A. has a low level of "human capital," which is measured by looking at the level of education in adult workers, according to a report by the UCLA Anderson Forecast. Research has shown if workers have more education, they are more likely to land jobs.

RELATED: Report: LA hasn't had positive job growth in 23 years

RELATED: Report: Los Angeles has one of nation's worst youth employment rates

Meanwhile, some employers are having a hard time finding workers who have the job skills needed to fill positions such as those that require IT or programming skills, said David Rattray, senior vice president of education and workforce development at the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce.

"They are feeling they have to either find other solutions or they cannot grow in this market," Rattray said.

Faye Washington, president and CEO of the YWCA Greater Los Angeles, said the money from JPMorgan Chase will help her nonprofit better train workers. The support has created two new programs — one that helps train youth to become X-ray technicians and another that focuses on medical terminology, front office and back office programming.

JPMorgan Chase's investment is part of the bank's $250 million New Skills at Work initiative to help improve job skills training in U.S. and European urban areas over five years. JPMorgan Chase also plans to release a report later this year that will analyze the job skills gap in L.A.

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