By Shan Li 

Chief executives at 27 of the biggest companies, including JPMorgan Chase & Co., Inc. and Google owner Alphabet Inc. have committed to hiring 100,000 low-income and Black, Latino and Asian New Yorkers by 2030 -- an effort that comes during a monthslong wave of protests about racial inequality.

The companies are launching an initiative called the New York Jobs CEO Council, which also will include other nonprofits and New York schools to prep students for jobs that will lead to careers, according to a statement. Chief executives who have signed on include Jamie Dimon of JPMorgan Chase, Jeff Bezos at Amazon and Sundar Pichai of Google.

A quarter of the jobs -- or 25,000 -- is pledged for students from the City University of New York's system, which is collaborating with the council to tweak its curriculum for well-paid careers, said Félix V. Matos Rodríguez, chancellor of CUNY.

That may include creating new classes or updating a curriculum in areas such as tech, which can be rolled out in all of CUNY's 25 campuses instead of just one or two, Mr. Rodríguez said. The goal also is to integrate paid internships and apprenticeships as part of the education on a wider scale.

"It is a game changer," said Mr. Rodríguez. Low-income students will gain valuable job experience, he said, and also earn money for tuition.

Rob Speyer, chief executive of New York real-estate company Tishman Speyer, said the recent Black Lives Matter protests have heightened urgency among companies to "do a better job of embracing diversity at the highest levels."

"There needs to be a new social contract between business and our communities," he said.

Julie Sweet, chief executive of consulting firm Accenture PLC, said she has seen a disconnect between what schools teach students and what the workplace demands. Accenture has learned first-hand over the past few years by launching an apprenticeship program and working with schools to prep students for jobs with a future, she said. The hope is that the same can be replicated with New York City students.

"Some will go into entry-level jobs, some will have apprenticeships and some will have learning and work experiences," she said.

Gail Mellow, executive director of the council and formerly the president of LaGuardia Community College, said the group has been studying models around the world, such as Switzerland, which has a system that firmly integrates school with hands-on job training from an early age.

"We don't want to reinvent the wheel," she said. "We want to learn from what's working."

Many details, including specifics about how companies will work with schools or how much money will be devoted to the project, are unclear. Ms. Meadow said that any new curriculum or apprenticeships would likely launch next year.

Write to Shan Li at


(END) Dow Jones Newswires

August 11, 2020 11:16 ET (15:16 GMT)

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