The 100,000 Opportunities Initiative, a national coalition of leading U.S.-based companies committed to hiring at least 100,000 Opportunity Youth by 2018, welcomed additional partners—including Chipotle Mexican Grill, Domino’s, FedEx, Hyatt, Mars, Nordstrom, Pizza Hut, Prudential, Red Robin, Sweetgreen, and T-Mobile—to the collective effort to form the nation’s largest employer-led coalition committed to creating pathways to meaningful employment for America’s young people.

“Through this unprecedented partnership with the private and public sector, we will further accelerate our collective hiring efforts over the next three years,” says 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. And, I am confident that our collective impact in Chicago will serve as the blueprint for communities across the country for years to come.”

The national initiative, which now includes 29 companies spanning a number of various industries, is committed to collectively hiring and engaging at least 100,000 Opportunity Youth—16- to 24-year-olds who face systemic barriers to jobs and education— by 2018 through apprenticeships, internships, training programs, and both part-time and full-time jobs. The coalition will work with community-based organizations and civic leaders to help deliver the local skills training and hiring opportunities young people need, ensuring that this truly cross-sector effort is sustained in the long term.  

The official launch of the 100,000 Opportunities Initiative will take place on August 13 in Chicago, where the participating companies, in collaboration with the Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership and community-based organizations, expect to collectively engage at least 3,000 pre-registered youth and anticipate making hundreds of on-the-spot job offers, delivering immediate impact for their businesses, the Chicago community and many participating candidates. This ticketed event will begin with an Opportunity Fair, which will feature informative, inspirational, and interactive experiences for youth including workshops, on-the-spot mentoring and feedback, college counseling, skills development, and entertaining events and activities. This will spur long-term engagement, which will help participating companies hire thousands of youth in the Chicago area over the next 18 months. This is expected to deliver an unprecedented impact to the young people and businesses in Chicago.

“A job is the first step for many toward a responsible life, and we are energized by the commitment of these companies to engage and hire so many young people in our region who are looking to take this significant step,” says Cook County board president Toni Preckwinkle. “I commend the companies who are participating in this initiative, as our young people represent an unrealized pipeline of talent and an engine of economic growth for our communities.”

“Bringing this first hiring fair to Chicago will have an impact on both the businesses and the young people that they will hire for years to come, supporting growth in the City’s economy and creating more opportunities for our residents,” says Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “Chicago will have the chance to showcase its talented workforce to the participating companies and further increase the potential of our residents to secure lasting employment.”

Following the Opportunity Fair, an inspirational Opportunity Forum will be hosted by Academy and Grammy Award winning performing artist Common, who will lead an open discussion with more than 3,000 young people and their support networks focused on economic opportunity in America. Joining Common on stage will be special guests, local “heroes,” young people, entertainers and speakers. The event is a ticketed event for pre-registered young people and their support networks. 

Read more about 100,000 Opportunity Youth.

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