The 100,000 Opportunities Initiative, spearheaded by Starbucks, kicks off Thursday with a job fair and forum held in Chicago, during which participating U.S. companies plan to engage with more than 3,000 young adults and offer hundreds of jobs on the spot, the coffee company said.
The multi-company initiative was created earlier this year to hire and train more than 100,000 teens and young adults who face “systemic barriers” to education and jobs by 2018.
Corporate involvement has more than doubled since the coalition was announced in mid-July, with 29 employers now on board, including Chipotle, Pizza Hut, Domino’s, Red Robin, Sweetgreen, Taco Bell, Potbelly Sandwich Shop and foodservice provider HMS Host.
“Through this unprecedented partnership with the private and public sector, we will further accelerate our collective hiring efforts over the next three years,” said Blair Taylor, Starbucks’ chief community officer. “Chicago represents an important city for this launch. While there are more than 200,000 Opportunity Youth in Chicago alone, there is also an incredibly vibrant system of civic leaders, nonprofit organizations, businesses and elected officials who share a commitment to bridging this opportunity divide.”
In the U.S., 3.5 million young adults between the ages of 16 and 24 are out of school and unemployed, according to the coalition, which sees this pool of potential employees as a strong resource to fill “middle-skill jobs” not requiring a four-year college degree. Starbucks, in particular, has expressed plans to engage this segment, earlier this year committing to hire at least 10,000 so-called “Opportunity Youth” throughout the next three years.