On April 10, JPMorgan Chase announced investments totaling $1 million to Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS), EmployIndy and JFF to increase access to work-based learning opportunities for IPS high school students. Alongside local and national leaders, JPMorgan Chase made the announcement at the Arsenal Technical High School STEM Learning Lab.
“Our rapidly-changing economy requires new skills to meet the growing needs of companies across the region,” said Al Smith, chairman of JPMorgan Chase in Indiana. “This public-private collaboration will create economic opportunity and career mobility. It’s an investment in Indianapolis’ most valuable resource ― our vibrant student population that will be better prepared to compete for well-paying careers and bright futures.”
IPS launched new college and career options as part of the new All-Choice High School Model at the start of this academic year. Under the new structure, students choose a high school based on their desired area of study ― there is no restriction on where they live. The restructuring created college and career pathways that help all students graduate on time and achieve one of the district’s three Es — to Enroll in a two- or four-year college or university, Enlist in the armed services or be Employed at a livable wage. Research shows that students are more engaged and successful when robust academic options are combined with rigorous instruction and work-based learning opportunities.
“Having access to quality work-based learning opportunities will provide IPS students with the employability skills necessary to succeed beyond high school, in whatever path they choose,” said IPS Interim Superintendent Aleesia Johnson. “The generous investment by JPMorgan Chase will support the efforts of IPS and EmployIndy to ensure that all IPS students have access to meaningful work-based learning opportunities, and that employers have the ability to engage with our students — the future of our workforce.”
EmployIndy has been the link between employers and the increasing need to accelerate and enhance IPS postsecondary readiness initiatives since 2017. EmployIndy has also served a critical role in informing the Health Sciences Career Academy design through provision of labor market research for skills mapping; participation on academy advisory boards; development of employability skills curriculum and badging; and the facilitation of experiences on the work-based learning continuum.
This investment will create a sustainable partnership and develop critical infrastructure, engaging employers in a sequence of experiential learning activities across all IPS college and career academies. JFF’s Pathways to Prosperity team will provide direct support and the apacity building needed to accomplish this work.
“The two-year commitment from JPMorgan Chase includes technical assistance from JFF to develop a clear vision, framework and strategic plan for EmployIndy to serve as the work-based learning intermediary in Indianapolis,” said Angela Carr Klitzsch, president and CEO of EmployIndy. “Our work together will establish essential infrastructure for EmployIndy to scale work-based learning in a robust and complex workforce development ecosystem.”
“This investment in work-based learning is a win for Indianapolis, because it will enhance educational opportunities for students, strengthen our talent pipeline, and enable businesses to directly connect with their future workforce,” said Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett. “Together, we are working to ensure that our young people have clear paths, experiences, and credentials that fit the needs of our modern economy.”
The IPS Education Foundation (IPSEF) collaborates closely with IPS leadership, teachers and staff to ensure that development activities align with IPS strategic priorities. As a mission-driven development organization, IPSEF brings fundraising expertise and capacity, thus allowing district administrators to focus on their core business — leadership in support of excellent teaching and learning. IPSEF will receive the investment and help distribute the funds across the district.
“This investment from JPMorgan Chase will help catalyze the partnership for IPS and EmployIndy to bring this critical work to scale across the district,” said Stephannie Bailey, executive director of the IPS Education Foundation. “As the philanthropic arm to the district, we are grateful and excited to celebrate this major investment in the future of our IPS students, families and staff.”
The benefits of the investments were highlighted through a panel discussion at today’s announcement that included a current IPS student, Faith Harrington; employer partner Trilogy Health’s Talent Engagement Support, usan Ford; EmployIndy Chief Operations Officer, Marie Mackintosh; and IPS Post-Secondary Readiness Officer, Jennifer O’Shea. The discussion was moderated by JPMorgan Chase Vice President f Global Philanthropy, Owen Washburn.
The investment by JPMorgan Chase is part of nearly $2 million awarded to IPS for postsecondary readiness over the last year. Eli Lilly and Company Foundation gave $300,000 in grant funding to support professional development, technology investment and youth employment at IPS’ Advanced Manufacturing, Engineering & Logistics Academy and Construction, Engineering & Design Academy. IU Health awarded $50,000 to support the Health Sciences Academy. Finally, in 2018, Salesforce.org awarded $500,000 to support the Information Technology Academy, future centers at the district’s high schools, and business partnerships.