INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.– Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS) received the largest investment ever by a single donor to get students ready for life after high school. Local leaders say it’s an investment that’s desperately needed for your child’s education.
IPS hopes this investment will transform thousands of young lives.
JPMorgan Chase announced a $1 million investment to Indianapolis Public Schools, EmployIndy and JFF to increase access to work-based learning opportunities. They made the announcement Wednesday at the Arsenal Technical High School STEM Learning Lab.
“$1 million in grants to support a new vision for career academies for Indianapolis Public Schools,” said Al Smith, the Chairman of Indiana JPMorgan Chase & Co., “This public-private collaboration will create economic opportunity and career mobility. It’s an investment in Indianapolis’ most valuable resource ― our vibrant student population that will be better prepared to compete for well-paying careers and bright futures.”
IPS recently launched the new college and career options as part of the new All-Choice High School Model. This is where students can choose a school based on what they want to do post-graduation. There’s no restriction on where they live. They can either enroll in a two- or four-year college, enlist in the armed services or have employment at a livable wage.
These programs gave 16-year-old Faith Harrington a glimpse into the life of being a nurse.
“It’s more interaction with people and I thought I wanted to do something like that, like be a pediatrician or some type of physician,” said Harrington, “But it’s opened up my mind to show me that’s not exactly what I want to do.”
This is an opportunity that could be a challenge for many students, but that’s why Interim Superintendent Aleesia Johnson says it’s so important. Students won’t just be learning the skills they need to be in the workforce, but they will get to be a part of it.
This investment will create a sustainable partnership and develop a critical infrastructure, engaging employers in a sequence of experiential learning activities across all IPS college and career academies.
“A lot of our students don’t necessarily have the resources to go out and do that exploration independently. So, as a district when we can create that opportunity for them it continues to level the playing field and give our students the chances and opportunities they absolutely deserve to have,” said Johnson.
As early as next year, 62 percent of jobs in the city will require a post-secondary degree or certification, according to Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett. Only 42 percent of adults have that right now.
“That the difference between 42 percent and 62 percent is significant. That’s the gap,” said Mayor Hogsett, “We must find ways for students in our city, students in every zip code to access relevant education for the well-paid jobs of the 21st century.”
EmployIndy has been the connection between students and employers since 2017. They say this investment will create a sustainable partnership and develop critical skills to help students engage with employers.
“In 1978, 60 percent of young adults were working, as of 2014 that number had dropped to only 33 percent,” explained Angela Carr Klitzsch, the President and CEO of EmployIndy. “It’s something we prioritize and it’s something our community needs desperately. Young people who work make 16-18 percent more every year when they enter their 20s.”
Showing students what it takes to raise that percentage back up while giving them the hope they need to succeed.
“It’s a win for employers to get the talent they need,” added Klitzsch, “It’s a win for individuals who’s going to make a family sustaining wage as they get older, and it’s a win for our community because we’re engaging young people and connecting demand and supply.”
The IPS Education Foundation will receive the investment and help distribute the funds across the district.
“This has provided me a free opportunity, it’s a blessing,” said Harrington.
According to IPS, the investment by JPMorgan Chase is part of nearly $2 million awarded to IPS for post-secondary readiness over the last year. Eli Lilly and Company Foundation gave $300,000 to support professional development, technology investment and youth employment. IU Health awarded $50,000 to support the Health Sciences Academy and Salesforce awarded $500,000 to support the Information Technology Academy.