Great news for young people looking to enter the American workforce!
A group of U.S.-based companies announced a joint program called the ‘100,000 Opportunities Initiative,’ an effort aimed at creating job opportunities and pathways to sustainable careers for 16- to 24-year-olds who face ‘systemic barriers to jobs and education.’
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Companies involved include Starbucks, Walmart, Target, CVS Health, Walgreens, Macy’s, JPMorgan Chase, Hilton and Microsoft, among others.
According to a statement about the new program, the goal of the coalition is to create ‘pathways to meaningful employment’ for American teens and young people by providing them access to apprenticeships, internships, training programs and both part-time and full-time jobs — with an ultimate goal of making 100,000 new hires by 2018.
‘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,’ Chairman and CEO of Starbucks Howard Schultz said. Schultz said the goal is to provide clear paths to success where young people can have an impact on their local community and economy.
‘The rules of engagement for philanthropy are changing. It’s not just about writing a check; rather, our approach is focused on creating a coalition of like minds with local knowledge, expertise on-the-ground and the ability to scale the social impact of an initiative like this to create pathways of opportunity for the literally millions of young people who can benefit from this program.’
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The youth unemployment rate in the U.S. stood at 12.1% in June, and while it’s a significant decrease from a rate of 13.3% a year ago, the reality is America’s young people are still having difficulty getting employed. According to the companies’ statement on the new initiative, there are currently 5.6 million young people between the ages of 16 and 24 in the U.S. who are out of school and not working. Meanwhile, there are 3.5 million unfilled jobs that don’t require a four-year degree and could provide a great opportunity for these young people.
Chicago to host first ‘Opportunity Fair & Forum’
The program’s first event — hosted by hip hop artist Common — will be held on August 13 in Chicago. During this first ‘Opportunity Fair & Forum,’ which will feature special guests, entertainers and speakers, the program will train more than 2,000 young participants and lead to at least 200 job offers. The initiative also plans to hire about 1,000 young people in the Chicago area within the next 18 months.
“With the right tools and resources, the next generation of Chicagoans can make a measurable impact in our community through civic engagement and strengthen our City’s economy,” said Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “I look forward to working with these companies to help solve a critical issue facing our neighborhoods and the young people who live there today.”