PMorgan Chase & Co. today launched a five-year, $250 million global workforce readiness training initiative called New Skills at Work.

The initiative is aimed at addressing the "skills gap" that exists across industries such as health care and advanced manufacturing.


The program has the backing of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, according to this article in The New York Times. Emanuel has seen the skills gap affect Chicago, and in response, he started a College to Careers program that pairs local schools with employers. That program served as a model for the New Skills at Work program.


JPMorgan Chase plans to commit $50 million annually to the program, beginning in 2014. It plans to announce specific grants and partnerships early next year, the Times reported.


In Iowa, officials have already identified a skills gap and are taking steps to close it with the Skilled Iowa Initiative, which gives potential middle-skills workers a chance to test their skills and provides resources for people looking to improve their skills to work at Iowa businesses.


A 2012 Iowa Workforce Development report asserted that about 50 percent of Iowa job openings are in the middle-skills job range.