JPMorgan Chase announced Wednesday morning it will give $1 million in grants to Indianapolis Public Schools to support its career-focused high schools.
IPS launched career academies at its four high schools last year, allowing students to take skill-focused courses designed to prepare them for college or the workforce. Students now select their high school based on academic or career interests –– including healthcare, STEM and global studies –– rather than proximity.
Indiana JPMorgan Chase Chairman Al Smith says the two-year funding commitment is about providing equitable access to careers of the future.
“Our rapidly-changing economy requires new skills to meet the growing needs of companies across the region,” Smith says.
The programs offer students certifications, experience in work-based learning, and dual college credit courses. And it falls in line with a statewide push for all high school graduates to be enrolled in college, enlist in the military or be employed.
“If we’re going to prepare a pipeline of talented and ready students for employers, and prepare students for the successful lives they deserve to have, then we must have high-quality partners,” IPS Interim-Superintendent Aleesia Johnson says.
The district will also partner with JFF, a national nonprofit focused towards economic development and education, and EmployIndy, the workforce development board for Marion County. Employ Indy works with local employers to understand talent needs and helps underrepresented residents find jobs.
“It really underscores the importance of youth employment. It’s something we prioritize, and it’s something our community needs desperately,” EmployIndy CEO Angela Carr Klitzsch says.
The donation from JPMorgan Chase is the largest to date for the new high school model, but not the first. Eli Lilly Company and Foundation, Salesforce and Indiana University Health all have contributed to the career-focused academies.
It remains to be seen how the district will use the funds. IPS officials say they will consider several options in the coming months.