Corporations, Foundations Launch Jobs Initiative for Youth

Corporations, Foundations Launch Jobs Initiative for Youth

More than a dozen large U.S.-based corporations have announced the launch of the 100,000 Opportunities Initiative, which aims to become the largest employer-led coalition committed to creating pathways to meaningful employment for America's youth.

Over the next eighteen months, coalition members will hire at least a thousand youth in the Chicago area, where an employer-led Opportunity Fair and Forum for Opportunity Youth will be held on August 13. By 2018, coalition members, including Alaska Airlines, Cintas, CVS Health, Hilton Worldwide, HMSHost, JCPenney, JPMorgan Chase, Lyft, Macy's, Microsoft, Porch.com, Potbelly Sandwich Shop, Starbucks, Taco Bell, Target, Walgreens, and Walmart, hope to engage at least a hundred thousand "opportunity youth" — Americans between the ages of 16 and 24 who face systemic barriers to jobs and education — nationwide through apprenticeships, internships, training programs, and part- and full-time jobs.

The initiative, which has received a pledge of $30 million from the Schultz Family Foundation, will work with a broad range of community-based organizations to provide on-the-spot mentorship and feedback, mock interviews and skills training, college prep services, volunteer opportunities, and internships. Other funders participating in the initiative include the Joyce, JPMorgan Chase, MacArthur, Rockefeller, Starbucks, Walmart, and W.K. Kellogg foundations.

The Aspen Institute's Forum for Community Solutions will act as an intermediary for the initiative, building on the work of its Opportunity Youth Incentive Fund, which supports collaborative efforts in twenty-one communities.

"We are pleased to support the 100,000 Opportunities Initiative to put more young people on a promising road toward economic security," said LaJune Montgomery Tabron, president and CEO of the Kellogg Foundation. "Partnering with employers to build strong pathways to quality jobs and important supports like employment training and employee wellbeing policies is essential. We believe this will help more young people — especially those disconnected from opportunity who have been continuously and structurally left out of the economic engine — move up the career ladder and provide a better future for their families."

"Top U.S.-Based Companies Launch the ‘100,000 Opportunities Initiative’ to Create Pathways to Economic Opportunity for Young Americans." 100,000 Opportunities Initiative Press Release 07/13/2015. Howard Schultz, Sheri Schultz. "Connecting Young People With Jobs." New York Times 07/13/2015.