PHILADELPHIA BUSINESS JOURNAL • Chase donates $1.5M to help Philadelphians find jobs

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Originally published by The Philadelphia Business Journal


Chase donates $1.5M to help Philadelphians find jobs

December 4, 2019


JPMorgan Chase & Co. will invest $1.5 million over two years to help more unemployed Philadelphia residents find quality jobs.

Chase made the announcement Wednesday morning at a ribbon cutting for its latest branch in Grays Ferry. The money will go to the West Philadelphia Skills Initiative, an organization started in 2011 by University City District.

The organization's mission has been to bridge the gap between West Philadelphia job seekers and the institutions that make it one of the main employment centers in the city and region. But the funding from Chase (NYSE: JPM) will allow the program to scale the model established in West Philadelphia and expand to North and South Philadelphia, in partnership with Temple University and the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corp.

West Philadelphia Skills Initiative has grown quickly. In 2016, it more than doubled its space when it moved into 5,000 square feet at 3801 Market St. Since its inception, over 1,000 Philadelphians have participated.

The organization has formed partnerships with major West Philadelphia employers such as the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Penn Medicine and Drexel University and maintained a database of entry-level job openings. It then serves as an intermediary to match people up with those jobs.

Depending on the job and what the employer wants, the organization offers courses to job applicants that could range from as little as four weeks to 24 for jobs that are more technical. They also learn about job etiquette, showing up on time, wearing proper clothes, résumé writing and interviewing techniques.

This is Chase’s second major gift since it entered the competitive Philadelphia retail market in September 2018 with plans to open 50 branches and 100 ATMs and hire at least 300 new employees over the ensuing five years.

Coinciding with that announcement last year, Chase said it would invest $5 million to revitalize the Kensington Avenue commercial corridor and partner with the University of Delaware on Spectrum Scholars, a college-to-careers program for students with autism who want to study computer science or electrical and computer engineering.

Since that time, Chase has opened 13 branches with four more slated for this month and an additional six coming in first quarter 2020. The banking giant has also promised to open a fifth of the new locations in low-to-moderate income neighborhoods.

It appears to be well on its way to meeting that threshold, with existing locations in Camden, Upper Darby and Grays Ferry, one opening this month in North Philadelphia and others in the works in Kensington, Port Richmond, West Philadelphia and Island Avenue near Philadelphia International Airport.