Tomorrow, more than two dozen big-name U.S.-based employers will be in Chicago to launch an initiative that has designs on helping thousands of these out-of-school and out-of-work young adults find jobs.
The Opportunity Fair & Forum—starting at 8 a.m. at McCormick Place Convention Center and featuring a performance by hip-hop artist, actor and Chicago native Common—will kick off the 100,000 Opportunities program, a Starbucks-led alliance that seeks to “jump start the future” of young Americans who are neither in school nor employed, according to USA Today.
In addition to the Seattle-based specialty coffee retailer, nearly 30 other companies—including Chipotle Mexican Grill, CVS Health, Microsoft and Target—are expected to be on hand at the day-long resource and job fair. They will be joined by more than 3,000 young Chicagoans and their families for a variety of interactive experiences as well as workshops, college counseling, skill-development activities and other events.
Employers participating in tomorrow’s forum are expected to make hundreds of on-the-spot job offers to attendees, which would be quite an auspicious start for the month-old endeavor.
Spearheaded by Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz—who earlier this year pledged to hire 10,000 young, low-income individuals to work at Starbucks by the end of 2018—the coalition currently counts 29 companies as members. That number includes a dozen organizations—FedEx, Hyatt, Nordstrom, Pizza Hut and T-Mobile, for example—that just signed on last week.
Faced with a recovering labor market and a subsequently smaller pool of job candidates, these employers certainly have good, practical reasons to get on board.
The aforementioned USA Today piece points out as much.
“As the unemployment rate has dipped, the pool of workers available for entry-level jobs has shrunk,” the paper notes. “And for many companies that want to expand their footprint in urban markets, engaging disconnected youth, who are disproportionately African-American and Latino, makes business sense.”
True enough. But making business sense isn’t the only reason why 100,000 Opportunities came to be, says Sheri Schultz, wife of the Starbucks CEO and co-founder of the Schultz Family Foundation, which describes itself as “a launchpad for young adults in transition.”
“We know that this is a complex issue, and we need all of our collective horsepower to solve it,” Schultz told USA Today. “For too long, it’s been the non-profit and public sectors tackling this issue, without meaningful involvement from the private sector.”
The program certainly has ambitious goals. And even if 100,000 Opportunities doesn’t hit its target of creating 100,000 jobs for unemployed youth by the end of 2018, it’s hard to envision a scenario in which the participating companies—and scores of young job seekers—don’t benefit from its existence.Twitter It!