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    JPMorgan to spend USD350 million on skills

    LIKE many companies, JPMorgan Chase expects artificial intelligence and other new technologies will change how its employees will work over the next decade. The company announced recently that it will spend USD350 million over five years to support training programmes, invest in community colleges and conduct research on ways to help less-skilled workers find better jobs and careers. The goal is to help train workers in the United States (US) and globally, not just its own employees.

    JPMorgan Chase’s Head of Workforce Initiatives Jennie Sparandara (pic) explained why the company has taken this step.

    Q. Why has the company launched this programme?

    A. The focus is really on supporting people who are most at risk of being left behind, who are not sharing in the kind of economic growth and prosperity that we’re seeing in places. So the funding supports job training organisations, non-profits, community colleges, other kinds of educational institutions that are really working in partnership with employers to understand what skills are needed, what credentials have value and then how do we prepare people with those skills and abilities.

    We have a business outlook survey and every year it tracks what are the top concerns for business. And this year in 2019 number one is talent. So it’s surpassed even growing revenue and sales.

    Q. You are also going to forecast upcoming skills that JPMorgan Chase employees will need as part of this initiative. How will that work?

    A. Researchers at MIT have developed some tools to look at the suitability of certain skills for machine learning. So it’s a way that you can look at how might a job change with the development of new technology. They have not turned their attention yet to financial services, and that’s one of the things we’re going to enable them to do.

    Q. This initiative follows an earlier five-year, USD250 million skills development programme. What results have you seen from that?

    A. (For example,) we have a great relationship with Columbus State Community College (in Columbus, Ohio). We look to examples like that and say, OK, how do we export that to other communities?

    Q. Do you feel that it’s harder now than in the past to forecast future skill needs?

    A. I’ve been doing this for about 10 years. I think the pace of change has genuinely accelerated. And I think business is more accustomed to moving with the speed of that pace of change. And it’s a place where we can really support the community based organisations — the non-profits, the educational institutions — because they don’t necessarily have access to the same type of information. – AP

    PHOTO: – AP
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