100,000 Opportunities Initiative

635723161675547989-howardschultzEven as the U.S economy has improved, unemployment among young people particularly African Americans and other minorities remain high. The overall teenage unemployment was 18.1 percent in June and 31.5 percent in African American teens. Many companies including Walmart, Walgreens, Starbucks, Taco Bell, Hilton, J.P Morgan etc. have joined a coalition in opening job opportunities, apprenticeships and internships for teens and young adults who face systemic barriers to jobs and education. Howard Schultz, chairman and CEO of Starbucks, said “By using our scale to create pathways to affordable education and meaningful employment for these young men and women, we’re strengthening both our workforce and our economy.”

Companies like Starbucks already generally employ man young people. Nearly 80 percent of Starbucks’ workforce is comprised of Millennials, and is committed to hiring at least 10,000 opportunity youth over the next three years. They have also included a tuition reimbursement program were those who earn an online bachelor’s degree from Arizona State University will be reimbursed. Taco Bell, has also been an active supporter of employing young people where more than 1 million teens since the company’s opening have been employed. Taco Bell is preparing to create 50,000 new jobs for teens. Likewise, employees have a variety of online options to earn their GED or college degrees as a benefit in working for Taco Bell.

Many companies and restaurants joining the 100,000 Opportunities initiative are advocates in creating more opportunities for teens and young adults in both jobs and education. The effort will kick off with an Opportunity Fair and Forum in Chicago on Aug. 13th where companies expect to train more than 2,000 youth and make 200 job offers on the spot. Company leaders are hoping that they will “create pathways of opportunity for the literally millions of young people who can benefit from this program”

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