WASHINGTON—Mayor Rahm Emanuel appeared at an Aspen Institute forum here on Thursday to tout Chicago City Colleges jobs skills programs and to bolster a bid to get a cut of a new JP Morgan Chase five-year, $250 million initiative to close the “skills gap” in the U.S. and Europe.
Emanuel discussed the city’s “Colleges to Careers” courses while on a panel with Jamie Dimon, JPMorgan’s chairman and chief executive to highlight the launch of the “skills gap” donations.
Emanuel was in Washington on Nov. 7 to discuss the City Colleges of Chicago jobs training programs at the World Bank headquarters here. Emanuel agreed to be on Aspen Institute panel in anticipation of making a strong push for JPMorgan money.
“You didn’t think I flew out here just for the charm of it?” he quipped.
Emanuel said he believes Chicago is “well positioned” to land JPMorgan funding, he also joked, “Well I am going to ground Jamie’s plane in Chicago.
On a serious note, Emanuel talked about customizing city colleges programs to the needs of Chicago companies and to eliminate any “stigma” associated with attending junior colleges. Emanuel also talked about the need for students to be taught “soft skills” as well as “hard skill” job training. Soft skills have to do with training youths on appearance, dress, manners, etc. associated with the workplace.
JP Morgan is launching this new charitable outreach as the company is also dealing with an October tentative settlement with the Justice Department to pay a record $13 billion in the wake of federal investigations into its mortgage securities business in the run-up to the 2008 mortgage meltdown crisis.
Besides Dimon, Emanuel, former chief of staff for President Barack Obama was on a panel with Melody Barnes, chair of the Forum for Community Solutions at the Aspen Institute and former director of Obama’s White House Domestic Policy Council. The session was moderated by Walter Isaacson, president & CEO of the Aspen Institute.