The community and employer partners of Delaware Pathways play an influential role in supporting the youth and building a future workforce. They enable young professionals to take on projects, ask employers questions, network and gain the skills needed to advance their careers. Our partners, such as Richard Jester of JP Morgan Chase, guide young professionals as they engage in career awareness, exploration, and immersion experiences.
Richard Jester, Vice President, Legal Solutions in the Office of the General Counsel at JP Morgan Chase for the last eight years, is a proud partner of Delaware Pathways. His scope of work at JP Morgan Chase has ranged from AI Systems to collab portals for lawyers and JP Morgan support teams. Jester started his career, after receiving his undergraduate degree in English, working at the Hotel Dupont. Advancing through his career he held several roles at Citibank such as a Lockbox UAT Tester and worked on various government contracts for the Department of State, Department of the Treasury, Customs & Immigration Service, IRS and US Mint. While working at Citibank he received both a MBA and Master of Management Science from Goldey Beacom. He is also chairperson of the Board of Directors of the Business Professionals of America(BPA), Delaware Association.
BPA is one of several career and technical student organizations (CTSOs) that are supported by Delaware Pathways and the CTE workgroup at the Delaware Department of Education (DOE). Specifically, Business Professionals of America is the nation’s leading CTSO providing students and members with invaluable skill development and the opportunity to make personal connections.
Jester’s involvement with BPA began during his time at Citibank. Participating in an “angel day”, volunteering in exchange for time off, Jester volunteered to be a judge at a BPA State Leadership Conference (SLC). At the conference, Jester judged a website design competition for middle school teams. He recalled, a student approached the judges and apologized because his teammates had missed the bus and the website the group built for the contest was on someone else’s computer. The student claimed that if he was given five minutes, he could build the website in front of them. This student then proceeded to compile the website, demonstrate it, and present it on the spot earning him a place in the top three teams. After this incredible experience, Jester has attended the BPA SLC every year since and had the privilege of watching this student go all the way to nationals and become the BPA state president his senior year of high school.
As a partner of Delaware Pathways, you have the opportunity to build relationships with young professionals and watch their growth year to year, as Jester does. One of the many benefits of these programs is the opportunity to witness students excel as they make their way through middle and high school. Watching young professionals enhance their knowledge, presentation skills, and confidence each year can be very rewarding.
Jester has also held several Ted-Talkish workshops at BPA SLC, one being “The Walking Debt” - Careers in Regulation & Compliance Technology, where he had the privilege to work with students on an individual level. This experience led him to become a BPA board member giving him the opportunity to hold his own events at JP Morgan. “BPA 3D” is an event held at JP Morgan in Wilmington, DE where students get the chance to practice presentations in front of their colleagues and JP Morgan leaders in preparation for nationals.
Employees at JP Morgan are eager to participate in events, such as “BPA 3D”. JP Morgan consists of employees that care about philanthropy and volunteering, and are willing to help students learn. Because of their company culture, getting employees to participate is easy and they often have just as much fun as the students. At “BPA 3D” there were about 25 diverse employee volunteers each day working with students that looked like them. Diversity and inclusion is prominent at JP Morgan and is expressed during these events. The more people work in diverse teams at a younger age, the more likely they are to succeed doing so in the future.
Students utilize opportunities like BPA conferences, workshops, and events sponsored by business partners such as JP Morgan events as tools to enhance their education. Their willingness to learn, which is one of the most crucial qualities employers look for, continually sets them up for success. Delaware Pathways encourages partners to invest in these opportunities to work with young professionals and connect them to the workforce. As a partner you are providing young professionals with a chance to challenge themselves, learn more about an industry and invest in their professional development. Having the professional community reinforce what is being taught in school, adds a new dimension to their education.
Jester is extremely passionate about his involvement with BPA stating, it’s energizing as a professional to see the way this new generation of young professionals approach problem solving. The skill sets they bring to the table are incredible. As a partner, you have the opportunity to work with students who are eager and passionate about their education. The students appreciate constructive feedback, which makes them better presenters, leaders, and future workers. As a partner of Delaware Pathways you provide balance to school teachers, showing students real life applications of their studies.
As a partner, Jester is also able to give young professionals advice about entering the workforce. He advises them, “Your career is not a straight line, it’s a very jagged line. It’s okay to go forward and go back. Your career is whatever you want it to be, there is nothing off limits to you if you are willing to work hard enough”. Having the opportunity to give advice to young professionals is another benefit of becoming a partner. You can use your experience to guide them on their own career path.
Becoming a partner of Delaware Pathways is an incredibly rewarding experience to connect students with the workforce, as Jester explained. You have the opportunity to teach what you have learned, create relationships with students, and give career advice. Our partners give students the chance to succeed in all aspects of their lives, creating a smart, talented, and well rounded generation of future workers.