Big Companies Pledge to Hire 100,000-Plus Youths by 2018

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More than a dozen big U.S. companies will come together next month to start working toward a goal of training or hiring at least 100,000 youths by 2018.

The effort, officially announced this morning, is called the 100,000 Opportunities Initiative. The coalition of companies participating in the program will offer several opportunities to young people, including:

  • Part-time and full-time jobs
  • Apprenticeships
  • Internships
  • Training programs

The initiative is geared toward a group dubbed “Opportunity Youth.” These are 16- to 24-year-olds “who face systemic barriers to jobs and education,” according to a press release:

In the U.S. alone, there are currently 5.6 million youth between the ages of 16 and 24 who are out of school and not working. At the same time, there are 3.5 million unfilled jobs in the U.S. Jobs that do not require a four-year degree — sometimes called middle-skill jobs — make up the largest part of the labor market in the United States. For employers looking to fill these jobs, young, motivated workers are a vital and untapped resource.

The initiative will kick-start with an Opportunity Fair & Forum for Opportunity Youth in Chicago on Aug. 13. During the event, participating companies are expected to train more than 2,000 youths and make at least 200 job offers. The plan is to hire at least 1,000 Chicago-based young people over the next year and a half.

U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez calls the effort a “win-win”:

“In America, your ZIP code should never determine your destiny. Breaking down barriers to employment for young people doesn’t just help the individual workers — it benefits entire communities and the economy at large.”

Perez says he also hopes to see more companies become involved. The initial class of participating companies includes:

  • Alaska Airlines
  • Cintas
  • CVS Health
  • Hilton Worldwide
  • HMSHost
  • JCPenney
  • JPMorgan Chase
  • Lyft
  • Macy’s
  • Microsoft
  • Potbelly Sandwich Shop
  • Starbucks
  • Taco Bell
  • Target
  • Walgreens
  • Walmart

What do you think of his program? Let us know your thoughts in a comment below or on our Facebook page.

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