On the heels of the launch of the private-sector led 100,000 Opportunities Initiative to increase hiring of America’s opportunity youth, Starbucks today announced two key strategic initiatives to support economic development and social change in diverse, urban communities by helping young people connect with meaningful employment and pathways to success.
Starbucks today announced it will open stores in 15 diverse, low-to-medium income urban communities across the U.S., with at least five stores expected to open in 2016. These stores will be a key strategy in achieving the company’s previously stated goal of hiring 10,000 Opportunity Youth—young people between the ages of 16-24 who face systemic barriers to meaningful jobs and education—and the 100,000 Opportunities Initiative’s collective goal of hiring 100,000 Opportunity Youth by 2018.
Starbucks will open the first of these stores in the Englewood neighborhood of Chicago’s south side; the West Florissant neighborhood in Ferguson, Missouri; the Jamaica neighborhood in Queens, New York; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; and will remodel its store at 7th & Camelback in Phoenix, Arizona. Each of these locations will have an onsite training space where young people can learn valuable customer service and retail skills, based on the same world-class training Starbucks partners (employees) receive. Starbucks will also partner with local youth services organizations and government to leverage existing programs that help connect young people with internships, apprenticeships, and jobs in the community and foster the type of dialogue and engagement needed for continued social change.
“We have a long history of developing stores in diverse neighborhoods and we hope to do even more—together with the community—to bring great jobs, engage young people, and drive economic opportunity for all,” says Blair Taylor, chief community officer for Starbucks and chair of the Starbucks Foundation. “We want to be part of the solution in these communities and help create a sustainable future for those who may be looking for a second chance.”
Starbucks will hire on average 20-25 partners (employees) per store from the local community, providing a new pathway to opportunity through training and development, meaningful career options, and industry-leading benefits that include the chance to get an online, tuition-free bachelor’s degree from Arizona State University through the Starbucks College Achievement Plan.
Starbucks also plans to collaborate with local women and minority-owned contractors and businesses in the design and development of these stores, and work with women and minority-owned suppliers to bring locally made food products to the stores.
“We want to decrease the number of young men and women in Phoenix who are not connected to meaningful educational or career paths,” says Mayor Greg Stanton. “I applaud Starbucks for helping low-income, diverse communities address this problem. These new Starbucks stores will help engage our young people with exciting new training opportunities and help support our city’s minority-owned and operated suppliers.”
“In making this commitment to open in Englewood, Starbucks, like Whole Foods, sees the opportunity and revitalization occurring in one of Chicago’s oldest neighborhoods. This is further proof that when the public and private sectors come together to invest in communities, we can create new jobs and economic resources that will spur economic growth into the future,” Emanuel adds.
“A new generation of young people - especially in low-income communities - are at risk for never, ever having a job,” says Bobby L. Rush, congressman of the 1st District of Illinois. “These young people are often neglected, especially those who are no longer in school or unable to find jobs, and are not being trained to be productive citizens in the workplace. We look forward to welcoming Starbucks to our Englewood community and share in their ongoing commitment to the training, employment and education of our nation’s youth.”
To determine which communities are a good fit for this store concept, Starbucks looks at all the available data on the socio-economic health of America’s cities to understand which communities have the biggest opportunity gaps, which have the biggest need for business investment and leadership, and where there is local movement underway to build a better future for its residents. The company plans to accelerate the development of these stores over the next three years with the goal of opening in at least 10 additional cities by 2018. Starbucks will monitor the success of the stores for continued adoption to embed with our store development strategies.
As the second part of its strategy, the Starbucks Foundation also announced it has awarded $1.5 million in Opportunity for Youth grants to 72 nonprofit organizations in 15 U.S. cities for fiscal year 2016. These grants, ranging from $5,000 to $75,000, build on the foundation’s long history of investing in proven, as well as innovative, programs that equip young people ages 16-24 with the skills and training required for the changing global economy. Starbucks employees engage and volunteer with the organizations to help young people become job-ready and develop skills to continue on the pathway of opportunity. Since launching in 1997, the Starbucks Foundation has grown to support communities around the globe. In 2014, the foundation gave $13.1 million in 2014, making 144 grants to nonprofit organizations, including $3.37 million to organizations supporting opportunity youth around the world.
“The Starbucks Foundation is dedicated to empowering our nation’s young people to seek out the right path forward through development and training, public service and volunteering, educational opportunities as job readiness,” says Taylor. “We are thrilled to be able to award $1.5 million to these well-deserving non-profits who will help multiply impact beyond our stores and make a meaningful impact to these young future leaders.”
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