JAMIE DIMON: There is a ‘national catastrophe’ in American education

Image result for JAMIE DIMON: There is a 'national catastrophe' in American educationJPMorgan is making a $6 million commitment to education in the South Bronx, New York as part of its New Skills for Youth initiative.

The investment will go towards an initiative to connect career and technical education schools in the South Bronx to employers in New York City. Career and technical education schools have been a particular focus for CEO Jamie Dimon, who has repeatedly cited Aviation High School in Jackson Heights, Queens as a success story in this field. Following is a transcript of the video.

Jamie Dimon: When I say out loud, “50% of inner-city school kids do not graduate high school,” that is a national catastrophe. We should be ringing the alarm bells. It’s not fair.

We’ve made a huge effort globally, but in the United States, about getting kids jobs. So, this is one piece of it, but the South Bronx, the inner-city schools need it more than most. It’s obviously our hometown, so JPMorgan Chase banks a lot of people here.

We need to get kids getting out of high school, who go on with a job, or go on to college and that leads to a job.

You saw the kids today. They’re all getting jobs, they’re smiling, they’re proud of themselves. That’s what we need to do in our inner-city schools.

Matt Turner: You’ve said “the lack of opportunity for kids growing up in this area is a moral and economic crisis.” How did that happen, exactly?

Dimon: Yeah, it’s not just this area. So, you have unemployment now going below 4.4% this morning, but if you go to a lot of inner cities, unemployment among youth, like think of 17 to 25, is 20% or 25%.

So, the fact that part of the country is doing well doesn’t mean we shouldn’t focus on the part that isn’t. And so, I think part of the problem is that jobs haven’t been done locally. So, these kids can get jobs in the MTA. There’s a distribution company down here, they know what these kids are being trained in, they were part of the training effort.

Business has to be involved locally with civic society, in this case schools, to get the kids trained to have a job. There are plenty of jobs out there.

And so, when people talk about the problems, I would say, “Well, what’s the solution? What do you want? What’s the outcome you want? How are you going to get there?”

I think civic society and business have to do it together. It’s not going to work with one without the other.

When I say out loud, “50% of inner-city school kids do not graduate high school,” that is a national catastrophe. We should be ringing the alarm bells. It’s not fair.

We were a land of opportunity. We’ll never have equal outcomes, but you can have equal opportunity. Among those kids, we might have had a Colin Powell, or an Albert Einstein, we may never know.

So, I just think it’s just part of running a good society. People should get involved in fixing that particular problem.