Jamie Dimon has serious concerns about where the U.S. economy is headed. The CEO of JPMorgan Chase spoke at an event at the bank’s New York headquarters where he spoke about the education system and the declining U.S. labor force.

Dimon painted a picture of an economy that is working well for some while leaving others behind. “Forty percent of Americans make less than $15 an hour. Forty percent of Americans can’t afford a $400 bill, whether it’s medical or fixing their car.”

All this leads to a split economy where some benefit from thriving U.S. corporations and others don’t.

JPMorgan Chase Commits $350 Million to Help Underserved Communities

To combat these growing problems, JPMorgan Chase announced they are launching a five-year, $350 million program aimed at improving job prospects for underserved communities. This is in addition to the firm’s original $250 investment in the New Skills at Work initiative.     

Here are some of the main areas this new initiative will focus on:

  • Career mobility: The program aims to create more opportunity and career mobility for all Americans. The bank plans to do this by:
    • Developing new training programs to help Americans gain the necessary digital and technical skill sets.
    • Improving collaboration between employers and the education system.
    • Setting aside funds to spread labor market data that will give companies the resources to help American break free for low-paying positions.
  • Identify additional job training needs: The bank will also partner with MIT  to identify where additional job training is needed among JPMorgan’s own employees.

Companies Must Work to Address the Skills Gap

Job growth is strong and the unemployment rate is currently at 3.8%. All signs point to a growing economy. But according to Dimon, the real problem lies in the growing skills gap that exists among American workers.  

Too many Americans are stuck in low-skill positions while businesses can’t find enough highly skilled employees. “The new world of work is about skills, not necessarily degrees,” Dimon added.

And Dimon says this is an issue that businesses must be involved in addressing or the problem will only continue to worsen. He says companies should actively provide both educational and training programs for their employees.