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The $1M award by JP Morgan Chase will fund Del State's participation in the financial institution's Advancing Black Pathways initiative, which is designed to help black American achieve economic success.
In this photo: The $1M award by JP Morgan Chase will fund Del State’s participation in the financial institution’s Advancing Black Pathways initiative, which is designed to help black American achieve economic success.
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JP Morgan Chase awards Del State $1M for Advancing Black Pathways

Thursday, December 10, 2020

JPMorgan Chase announced Dec. 10 that it has selected Delaware State University for a two-year, $1 million investment to participate in its Advancing Black Pathways (ABP) initiative.

ABP builds on the firm’s existing efforts to help black Americans achieve economic success.  The initiative focuses on three pillars: 1) Strengthening Education and Job Training; 2) Growing Careers and Career Trajectory for black talent; and 3) Building Wealth through financial wellness education and capital investment in black-owned businesses. 

“Expanding opportunities for young people of color has been a long-term commitment for the company. It’s critical for us to work with the right partners to be successful,” said Tom Horne, Delaware Market President. “For us, the right partners are those with great vision, a shared commitment to access and excellence, and a desire to create more opportunities for their clients and customers. Delaware State University has proven to be a noteworthy institution in all three areas. And we are proud to be standing with them.”

According to Prosperity Now, a think tank focused on race, wealth, and equity, if there are no interventions, black Americans’ median wealth will fall to $0 by 2050. In addition, despite accounting for nearly 13% of the U.S. population, black people occupy less than 8% of the nation’s white-collar jobs. The educational achievement gap is significant as well. Only 46% of black college students complete four-year degree programs within six years, compared to 69% of white students and 77% of Asian American students.

Through this collaboration, the University looks to expand its Career Pathways office for students, ensuring that they begin portfolio building in the Freshman year and can get access to real-world, experiential opportunities early in their matriculation, including internships.  Over the next five years, JPMorgan Chase has already committed to 4,000 internships for black students across the nation.  Delaware State University students are expected to fill at least 250 of those slots. 

This award will also enhance faculty development. Faculty will complete a Quality Matters training to adapt educational tools to fit market trends across industries, which will help better position students as they transition into their professional careers. The University will also leverage its existing relationship with Silkweb eLearning for certification-based course delivery.

Part of the JPMC donation will also launch a cooperative, professional development program in select tech-focused degree programs.  The Co-op will explore an alternating cycle model (e.g., six-month intervals) of full-time study with full-time employment at University-approved employers beginning as early as the student’s sophomore year. Unlike traditional project-based learning, students will earn academic credit while they’re employed.

Finally, the grant will support a new business function, “The Navigator,” that will work with employers to inform curriculum development and address training gaps, with a specific emphasis on Information Technology. The function will be supported by a dedicated team with deep IT expertise and career coaching acumen.

Delaware State University President Tony Allen was particularly pleased with the award:

“Historically Black Colleges and Universities are a significant part of answering a common complaint in corporate America, ‘We want black talent, but we cannot find them.’ While representing only 3% of all colleges and universities, we produce nearly 25% of black college graduates and collectively graduate 400,000 students annually. At Delaware State University, 86% of our graduates – many of whom are first-generation and from low-resource communities – are in a profession in their field or graduate school within six months of graduation.  What we need now is to get more of those who find us in their first year to get to the finish line.  Companies like JPMorgan Chase are just the partners we need. They are unafraid to give voice to issues that disproportionately affect a specific group of Americans, ready to roll up their sleeves and help, and willing to be a catalyst for their peers,” Dr. Allen said.

“I once said that Delaware State University was a hidden gem, right here in our backyard,” said Bernadette Dorsey Whatley, Delaware State University Trustee and Managing Director at JPMorgan Chase. “I know now that it does not need to be.   The University has the talent we need for a rapidly changing, smaller, and more interconnected world. I’m thrilled that the firm has awarded $1MM in support of that University vision, but even more excited about what it will mean to our primary goal – making the economy work for more people – for all people.”