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Investment helps high school students attend IUPUI informatics diversity initiative

For Immediate Release Jul 15, 2021

INDIANAPOLIS – Underrepresented Indiana high school students who are interested in technology are receiving free career support from IUPUI and a financial services firm this summer.

Students work on projects on a computer
IUPUI’s Informatics Diversity-Enhanced Workforce initiative helps underrepresented high school students in Indiana learn about information technology and gain career skills that are important in the field.Photo courtesy of the School of Informatics and Computing

IUPUI’s Informatics Diversity-Enhanced Workforce initiative is using a $100,000 philanthropic investment from JPMorgan Chase to help 50 iDEW students train, study and sit for industry certifications by the end of the summer, place 160 students in summer jobs and increase the number of students in information technology jobs. The financial support from JPMorgan Chase ensures that the iDEW students can attend the summer workshops for free.

High school students can also participate in the iDEW program for multiple years during the school year. Working in teams, iDEW students present informatics projects that tackle real-world problems incorporating mobile apps, robotics, video games, internet of things, chatbots, data visualization and other trends in IT. Students can earn professional IT certifications that prepare them for the workforce or for two-year or four-year academic paths in informatics.

The iDEW program began in 2015 as a partnership between the School of Informatics and Computing at IUPUI and JPMorgan Chase. Over the course of six years with support from additional community partners, the program has reached more than 2,000 students in eight schools, including women (24%) and people of color (79%). The program has facilitated skills training, job placement and career opportunities for students new to the IT industry and tech sector in Indianapolis.

“JPMorgan Chase was the very first community partner to support and believe in the iDEW vision,” said Mathew J. Palakal, senior executive associate dean at the School of Informatics and Computing. “The success of the iDEW program depends on both its innovative computing curriculum and the breadth of co-curricular programs offered during the summer break to iDEW high school students. In that regard, this specific grant from JPMorgan Chase is critical for the success of the iDEW program.”

In 2020, 127 iDEW participants worked in IT positions with companies and institutions such as Kenzie Academy, CTSI Project STEM, Eli Lilly and Co., Cummins Inc., DSC Technologies and Purdue University.

“Between persistent racial injustice, the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting economic downturn, it’s been a challenging time for families across the country,” said Jim Macdonald, Indiana market manager for J.P. Morgan Private Bank. “And especially in under-resourced communities, young people are being hit particularly hard. That’s why JPMorgan Chase is working in Indianapolis to address this problem by identifying innovative strategies for reconnecting young people to work-based learning experiences.”

Summer jobs provide students with a meaningful work-based learning experience, a source of income, a chance to build professional networks, and pride in their ability to contribute to their families and communities, Macdonald said. As part of JPMorgan Chase’s $350 million New Skills at Work program, the firm committed $17 million to support summer youth employment efforts in 2017. The initiative has helped more than 150,000 people develop in-demand skills for jobs in growing industries.

“JPMorgan Chase has been a valued partner of Indiana University for many years,” said Valerie Gill, associate vice president of IU’s Office of Business Partnerships. “Their support of the iDEW program over the last six years, totaling their commitment to IU School of Informatics and Computing at over $600,000, has been instrumental to arm students with the IT skills, mentorship support and work-based learning experiences they need to succeed.”

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