JPMorgan Chase & Co. And Year Up Convene Employers To Discuss Talent Solutions That Work

Pat David_JPMC

This past month, more than 70 people representing over 25 companies gathered together at JPMorgan Chase JPM -2.24% in New York City for the Talent Solutions Forum, an annual event co-hosted by Year Up and JPMorgan Chase that convenes employers to share best practices for creating sustainable career pathways for opportunity youth.

Year Up, a national non-profit that connects low-income young adults who need opportunities with companies who need talent, and JPMorgan Chase first conceived of this event four years ago as a way to encourage employers to work together to turn rhetoric around developing alternative talent pipelines into action. After a welcome from John Galante, Managing Director and Chief Information Officer for JPMorgan Chase, and Garrett Moran, President of Year Up, JPMorgan Chase’s Global Diversity Officer Pat David gave a keynote address focused on diversity and inclusion. She shared the firm’s philosophy that “synonymous with diversity is talent” and spoke about the need for all of the companies in the room to take it upon themselves to “refuel the talent engine” with a more diverse and inclusive pipeline.

A panel featuring Capital One, AT&T T -0.24%, and Bank of America BAC -2.90%highlighted new talent initiatives at each of the three companies focused on innovative methods of bringing young adults without college degrees into the workplace. Executive Vice President Colleen Taylor described how Capital One has created a structured entry level curriculum around cyber security, a field with increasing demand for entry as well as highly specialized talent.  Chris Kessler, Managing Director from Bank of America, highlighted how the Bank is creating ‘communities of success’ by establishing a focused internship program with strong line of business and HR leadership in key Bank of America locations like Jacksonville, New York, Dallas, and Phoenix.  She highlighted how corporate America has a leadership role to play by establishing internship pathways so urban young adults can be career ready.  For AT&T, the challenge is to find and hire new talent continuously. With more than 270,000 employees overall, the company’s leaders hire approximately 29,000 new employees annually to keep up with projected growth. This need for talent has led AT&T to work with Year Up to create an inside sales curriculum that can prepare young adults for jobs in call centers—units which AT&T views as a key entry point for new talent, but which typically have rates of attrition that can be as high as 50 to 60%. Meghan Barnes, Senior Program Manager of Charitable Operations for AT&T, is hopeful that this pilot will help to boost employee retention while providing a supportive entry point into a large multinational corporation for young adults who might otherwise be overlooked.

The Forum participants are committed to corporate leadership in jobs at the best companies in America for urban young adults and deliberately look to thought leadership on how to be effective here.  Joe Fuller, Professor of Management Practice at Harvard Business School shared compelling information about the impending talent gap specifically in the financial services sector, part of a forthcoming report he is co-authoring with Grads of Life and Accenture as a follow up to “Bridge the Gap: Rebuilding America’s Middle Skills,” published in November 2014. Educators and employers have played a role in contributing to this disconnect between supply and demand. Fuller shared his theory that ‘upcredentialing’—the practice of requiring increasingly higher level credentials—is perpetuating the mismatch. He also shared shared data showing that among credit authorizers, checkers, and clerks, only 39% of individuals currently filling those roles have bachelor’s degrees while 82% of job postings for new hires in those positions require a BA—a 42% gap. He encouraged the group to “expand supply by revisiting whether [they] put up artificial constraints on applicants” in the form of requiring a bachelor’s degree.

The afternoon concluded with a panel featuring representatives from JPMorgan Chase, American Express, and State Street, three companies who have been at the forefront of developing and improving programs that result in Opportunity Youth being hired at their firms. JPMorgan Chase has developed a 360-degree support model for their interns, providing internal mentorship, programming, and coaching within the bank to supplement the support that Year Up provides. Ivy Schlesinger, Executive Director of Global Compliance Operations at JPMorgan Chase, shared that the banking and financial services company looks for “skill, will and fit” in its interns to help them develop the competencies with a goal that they will ultimately become full time employees. The results?  As many as 75% of the young adults who complete their internship have been offered positions at JPMorgan Chase!  Jeevan Warner issued the call to action by highlighting the success JPMorgan Chase has realized is because of the energizing and deliberate dedicated program they have built to support Opportunity Youth interns in their pursuit of becoming ‘job ready’.

At American Express, Destin Dexter spoke to a pressing need for software engineers led the company to define a new role of ‘junior engineer’, which is filled by individuals who have spent 6 months interning with the company in partnership with Year Up and one of two community colleges—Miami Dade Community College in Miami, Florida and Maricopa County Community College in Phoenix, AZ.   Finally, Richard Curtis, Vice President of Workforce Development at State Street shared the financial institution’s commitment to employ 1000 Boston youth for entry-level positions by 2019. Working with five different partner organizations, State Street is seeking to accelerate its impact on education and workforce development in ways that are meaningful at both the individual and organizational level. Richard brought home the message that good citizenship is good business when he reminded Forum participants that Year Up interns who are hired by State Street stay in their job as much as three times longer than hires from more traditional paths.

The afternoon concluded with remarks from Michelle Henry, Vice President and Senior Philanthropy Manager at JPMorgan Chase who urged attendees to keep working to close the opportunity divide so that “on our watch, we can make a difference.”


The GradsofLifeVoice Forbes team provides thought leadership, research and expert commentary on innovative talent pipelines and related issues such as the skills gap, income inequality, workforce diversity, and the business case for employment pathways. We seek to change employers’ perceptions of young adults with atypical resumes from social liabilities to economic assets. This post was originally featured here.


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