Starbucks leads multicompany hiring, job-training effort

In this May 31, 2014 photo, a woman holds a coffee drink outside a Starbucks in downtown Chicago.
In this May 31, 2014 photo, a woman holds a coffee drink outside a Starbucks in downtown Chicago. AP

Starbucks is leading more than a dozen U.S. corporations in an effort to improve education and economic outcomes for young Americans.

As part of the 100,000 Opportunities Initiative, the companies’ goal is to provide jobs, internships, apprenticeships and training to 100,000 16- to 24-year-old Americans who face “systematic barriers to jobs and education” by 2018, according to a statement from the company released Monday.

The other companies include Alaska Airlines, Cintas, CVS Health, Hilton Worldwide, HMSHost, JCPenney, JPMorgan Chase, Lyft, Macy’s, Microsoft,, Potbelly Sandwich Shop, Taco Bell, Target, Walgreens and Wal-Mart.

The initiative was kicked off by Starbucks Chief Executive Officer Howard Schultz, who said earlier this year that his company would hire at least 10,000 young, low-income Americans over the next three years.

Starbucks currently employs more than 150,000 workers in the U.S., where it operates 12,000 retail stores, according to the Wall Street Journal. The company says millennials comprise almost 80 percent of its workforce.

The multi-company initiative aims to fill a gap by pairing out-of-work, out-of-school young people with one of the 3.5 million unfilled jobs in the U.S. that doesn’t require a four-year degree – also called middle-skill jobs.

To advance the effort, Schultz and his wife, Sheri, said they have donated $30 million through their foundation to help young people enter the workforce.

“We will invest in programs that create clear paths to employment, including training in ‘hard’ skills for fields like customer service, technology and retail, as well as ‘soft’ skills like teamwork, problem solving and time management,” the two wrote in an op-ed in the New York Times Monday.

The project will officially kick off Aug. 13 with a job fair in Chicago, hosted by rapper Common. Participating companies will collectively train more than 2,000 young people and make at least 200 on-the-spot job offers, Starbucks said.

Starbucks has at least 50 locations in Charlotte, according to its website.

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