Youth workforce initiative helps prepare Indianapolis high school students for technology jobs of the future
JPMorgan Chase today announced a $100,000 philanthropic investment to the IU School of Informatics and Computing at IUPUI in support of the iDEW Summer Youth Employment Program. This investment builds on the firm’s previous support, nearing $500,000, to expand IT education for iDEW students, as well as summer employment and internships in partnership with Project Indy, a program of EmployIndy.
The COVID-19 crisis and associated economic impact, including a 14.7 percent U.S. unemployment rate, are leading to less access to summer jobs, part-time work and internships that teens rely on to support themselves and their families. By 2020, 65 percent of jobs in the U.S. will require some postsecondary education, training or credential. These heightened expectations will require young people to gain work experience and develop skills today to enable them to compete in the global workforce in the future.
Last year’s program enabled 127 iDEW students to participate in summer jobs or internships and the goal for 2020 is to increase that number.
“JPMorgan Chase has been a strong supporter of the iDEW program since the very beginning, for the past five years,” said Mathew J. Palakal, senior executive associate dean at the School of Informatics and Computing. “This years’ $100K grant from JPMorgan Chase to support the iDEW Summer Youth Employment Program is wonderfully timely and much needed to keep the iDEW students engaged during the summer months given the COVID-19 situation. Through this support from JPMorgan Chase, the iDEW staff was able to support participating students last year and again this year.”
Five years ago, JPMorgan Chase and the School of Informatics and Computing collaborated to launch a new initiative to promote IT education to underserved youth in Indianapolis. The resulting Informatics Diversity-Enhanced Workforce, or iDEW, program has served nearly 1700 students in eight area high schools to date, having just celebrated its fifth year in operation.
“Indianapolis, like nearly every city across the country, is feeling significant impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly under resourced communities and young people,” said Jim Macdonald, Market Manager for Indiana and Kentucky for J.P. Morgan Private Bank. “We know that young people depend on summer jobs to provide critical income to their families. JPMorgan Chase is working with partners like IUPUI to ensure that young people continue to find opportunities for work-based learning experiences and help prepare them with the skills they need for jobs of the future.”
The iDEW program began with just three classes in 2015 and expanded to 30 classes in 2019-20 for a total of 160 classes over 5 years. Student participation also increased, from 75 in year one to 815 in year five. Of those, 79 percent were people of color and 24 percent were women. Seventy-two percent of graduates from the iDEW program attend a 2- or 4-year college with 75 percent of those pursuing a STEM degree.
Students in the iDEW program also registered in 260 dual credit courses; participated in 31 internships; took part in industry visits, and attended Black Data Processing Associates (BDPA), Richard Tapia Celebration of Diversity in Computing, and Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing conferences. In addition, iDEW students have had the opportunity to participate in summer educational programming in partnership with BDPA, Code Black Indy, and beLithe – including SAT prep, speaking college, and scrum training – as well as workshops provided by the School of Informatics and Computing.
This summer, iDEW educational programming was successfully offered virtually due to the pandemic, and plans are being made to continue to offer the program throughout the coming school year through various instructional modalities.
This investment is a part of JPMorgan Chase’s $350M New Skills at Work program, including the firm’s $17 million, five-year commitment to U.S. cities working to increase the number of teens with access to quality summer work experiences that put them on a path to greater economic mobility. This nationwide effort continues to equip young people with the skills and experiences they need to succeed and bridge the gap between the demand for summer jobs and the number of available positions.