Zip Code Wilmington is one of four nonprofits that will receive the new funding from JPMorgan Chase. Courtesy Photo.
Zip Code Wilmington is one of four nonprofits that will receive the new funding from JPMorgan Chase. Courtesy Photo.

JPMorgan Chase commits $1.7 million to help break down employment barriers in Delaware

The funding will go to four nonprofit organizations working to increase employment by supporting career development and advancement.


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JPMorgan Chase recently announced a new $1.7 million philanthropic investment for four prominent Delaware-based organizations — Delaware State University, Code Differently, L.E.E.P. Inc., and Zip Code Wilmington.

“As one of Delaware’s largest employers, we are incredibly focused on creating a more equitable and inclusive economy for more residents across the region,” said Tom Horn, Delaware Market Leader at JPMorgan Chase, in a statement.

This is how the $1.7 million investment will be distributed: 

Delaware State University will receive $709,000 over three years to develop a new part-time, evening associate degree program in Early Childhood Education with a business development focus. This program will improve career access, advancement, and economic mobility for uncredentialed childcare workers who cannot access full-time educational opportunities.

Code Differently will receive $500,000 over two years in partnership with the Wilmington Housing Authority to launch IT careers for opportunity youth from underserved communities. Over the past two years, Code Differently has trained over 200 Delaware adults for technology careers in the local market, with Black adults making up over 70 percent of their participants.

L.E.E.P Inc. (L.E.E.P) will receive $410,000 over two years to support the expansion of L.E.E.P’s Pathway to Apprenticeship (P2A) program — the only DE Department of Labor certified construction pre-apprenticeship program specifically designed for unions that leads to direct entry into union construction trades. This grant will enhance the capacity of the P2A program to increase participation by 50% and provide increased program support to opportunity youth and justice-involved individuals. Founded in 2018, L.E.E.P. is a nonprofit organization focused on ending intergenerational poverty and closing the wealth gap in diverse communities.

Zip Code Wilmington will receive $160,000 over two years to pilot a Zip Code Prep Program to address inequities within STEM education and the tech sector and create a bridge for more Black and Latino candidates to apply for and be accepted into Zip Code’s full-time 12-week training program.

“Building a skilled workforce and ensuring that all people, regardless of background, have access to the support they need is critical to these efforts,” said Horn. “Together with these community partners, we can help unlock opportunity for more Delaware residents to access meaningful jobs and lasting economic growth.”

Studies have indicated that the cost of postsecondary education, lack of work-based learning opportunities and limited career mentoring have all created roadblocks to financial independence and economic inequalities for young adults. 

The absence of support in education reflects the job and housing markets.

According to Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce, young workers and those of underserved communities who do not have good jobs by their mid-30s are more likely to face financial challenges than prior generations.

JPMorgan Chase is committed to helping people of underserved communities establish career pathways to build wealth and access to affordable housing by investing in community partners.

“As a Black-owned business dedicated to equitable programs in education and employment, Code Differently is honored to be a recipient of this mission focused on investment from JPMorgan Chase,” said Stephanie Eldridge, co-founder and CEO of Code Differently.

“Wilmington, like many cities, is the tale of two worlds. We have companies seeking technologically skilled candidates to fill hundreds of openings and a population of 18- to 24-year-olds making up the highest unemployed or underemployed population. With this generous investment, we are creating a young adult program intersecting everyday life’s essential skills, including financial literacy, health and wellness, and addressing housing displacement with employable technology skills and career placement,” she added. 

Gwenevere Motley, executive director of L.E.E.P. noted that 90% of its graduates are currently employed in the building trades and trucking industry. 

“Thanks to the funding we received from JPMorgan Chase, we will expand our program to reach over 130 people in the next two years,” said Motley. “These individuals will gain direct entry into good-paying, union careers. Labor is our most valuable resource, and our programs will help individuals gain access to career opportunities that transform lives and revitalize communities.”

JPMorgan Chase’s latest investment aligns with the firm’s broader commitments to preparing people for the future of work and closing the racial wealth gap.


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