July 15 marks World Youth Skills Day, as established by the United Nations to recognize the importance of equipping today’s youth with the skills for employment, broadening their exposure to new career opportunities, and inspiring a sense of entrepreneurship.

World Youth Skills Day engages young people, including those in underrepresented groups, who are interested in growing their careers in the fields of technology, finance, government and more. It aims to bridge gaps in skill development.

JPMorgan Chase seeks to build a more inclusive global workforce through a variety of youth-focused social impact programs in the communities we serve.

One such program is GenerationTech, part of the firm’s Tech for Social Good initiative. Supported by JPMorgan Chase employee volunteers, GenerationTech is a design challenge aimed at encouraging students ages 14-18 to consider a career in technology. Students are challenged to ideate a technical solution to a social issue aligned with one of the United Nation’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

GenerationTech exposes youth to real-life challenges and inspires them to use technology to advance social change. It imbues them with practical career skills such as collaborative teamwork and solutions-based technical thinking. GenerationTech highlights employment opportunities for emerging technologists to pursue employment at JPMorgan Chase  as software engineers.

Fatima, a technology apprentice based at our Global Technology Center in Glasgow, established her career in tech at Glasgow’s 2018 GenerationTech event. In alignment with her love for coding and social good, this event deeply resonated with Fatima’s goal to become a software engineer.

Speaking about her experience at GenerationTech, Fatima said, “I feel like the program was made for me — it introduced me to a whole community of mentors and people who genuinely cared about my development as a student, a leader and a software engineer.”

Now in the fourth year of her apprenticeship, Fatima continues to give back by volunteering at subsequent GenerationTech events. She sees the participants as her peers and enjoys being a role model while doing what she loves.

Sonja, now an associate software engineer and JPMorgan Chase, attended Glasgow’s 2017 GenerationTech event in the same tech apprenticeship cohort as Fatima. Now working in the firm’s Corporate & Investment Bank, Sonja is in the reference data space and supports her team by building out back-end development of applications. GenerationTech helped Sonja jumpstart her journey in the tech field. Arriving at the event without any prior technical knowledge, Sonja became acquainted with foundational technology concepts such as wireframing through the guidance of JPMorgan Chase employee mentors.

Speaking candidly, Sonja expressed that she was often told “not to pursue a career in technology” because she was a girl in a space largely dominated by men. But at GenerationTech, Sonja “immediately felt comfortable because of how diverse the mentors were.” The JPMorgan Chase employee volunteers reflected her own identity. Seeing women of color who were successful technologists, Sonja could picture herself in this space for the first time — they represented who she could become. Following the event, Sonja researched opportunities for youth at the JPMorgan Chase and pursued the Technology Graduate Apprenticeship Program.

Sonja has gone on to be a trailblazer within the firm, partaking in chats with senior leaders, acting as an ambassador for the Graduate Apprentice Program and giving back to GenerationTech as an employee mentor. True to the spirit of World Youth Skills Day, Fatima and Sonja are breaking down barriers to entry for underrepresented groups in the field of technology.