With more than 100 Morehouse and Spelman college students in attendance, JPMorgan Chase chairman and CEO Jamie Dimon discussed the Advancing Black Pathways program at Morehouse campus on Friday, Nov. 22, which was launched earlier this year as a way to expand economic opportunity for Black people.

“We started an internal program to develop senior black talent called Advancing Black Leaders several years ago after assessing our diversity numbers and realizing how far we had to go to develop more black leaders here at JPMorgan Chase,” Dimon said. “We felt we’re making good progress with women, Hispanics, LGBT, and Asians, but the fact is with Black Americans it was kind of average. And I wanted it to be JPMorgan good.”

“One of our responsibilities as a firm is to expand opportunities for everyone. We’ve seen great success with our efforts to create opportunities for women and veterans. I’m confident that Advancing Black Pathways will help Black Americans be economically successful.”

Morehouse College hosted the student leadership forum in conjunction with JPMorgan Chase to highlight the company’s Advancing Black Pathways program and diversity within the financial sector.

The new program, which was launched in February, focuses on wealth, education and careers as the three pillars of a strategy to help the Black community excel in entrepreneurship, homeownership, finance careers, and increase black representation in corporate America.

“It’s expanded beyond recruiting and retention,” Dimon said. “It’s expanded to help black people get better access to capital and advisory services for small businesses, affordable housing, and financial education.

One of the program’s first goals is to hire 4,000 Black students over the next five years as interns, apprentices and entry-level analysts while delivering a financial health curriculum to them.

“JPMorgan has been and continues to be one of the college’s most committed strategic partners,” said Michael Hodge, senior vice president and provost of Academic Affairs at Morehouse College. “They have supported the college for more than 30 years and are committed with us in support of our mission to develop men with disciplined minds, who will lead lives of leadership and service.”

Dimon says that within the last two years, JPMorgan hired and retained 40-50 percent more Black managing directors and executive directors. And while that’s good, he believes that the company can do better.

“We do business with communities around the world. Obviously, communities are different and, having people in local communities who understand the surrounding culture and people we serve, is critical to the long-term success of our business.

“I would say, if you’re going to pick a team of the best people, it’s important to choose from the most diverse talent pool possible.”

(Photo: Link Kabayundi/JPMorgan Chase)

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