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Multi-million grant to help Denver students with career education

JPMorgan Chase awards grant to Denver schools
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Posted at 10:33 AM, Feb 12, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-12 12:34:51-05

DENVER — On Wednesday, JP Morgan Chase announced a $7 million grant for Denver Public Schools and its partners to help prepare students for the jobs of the future.

Denver is the first of 10 cities sharing a $75 million investment as part of JP Morgan Chase's New Skills at Work philanthropic initiative.

"Globally, approximately one-fifth of young people between 18 and 24 will need to upgrade their skills in order to be competitive in this rapidly changing labor market," said Jennie Sparandara, head of global workforce initiatives at JPMorgan Chase.

JPMorgan Chase said the grant will help students pursue careers in industries that have been identified by the Colorado Workforce Development Council’s annual Colorado Talent Pipeline Report as offering well-paying careers and projected job growth, including healthcare, business, IT, and cybersecurity.

The grant will enable DPS to expand programs offered through CareerConnect. Part of that includes working with higher education institutions to provide students a direct path to certificate or degree programs.

"A student could actually get career certification, a two-year degree, a four-year degree, and graduate degrees all within the city of Denver and all with the partners that we're working with," said Bernard McCune, senior executive director of career and college success for DPS.

The partners receiving the grant include the Denver Education Attainment Network, DPS, Community College of Denver, Metropolitan State University of Denver, University of Colorado Denver and Emily Griffith Technical College.

Another goal of the grant is to expand work opportunities and apprenticeship programs and with the business community. Denver7 recently profiled student apprentices at the workers compensation company Pinnacol Assurance. Many of these apprentices are offered jobs directly out of high school, while still planning for higher education.

"For many students, you jump in and out of education and work over your life," Sparandara said. "Sometimes, you’re working and you’re learning at the same time, and we need more models that enable that."