31 August 2016
Employer-led coalition achieves goal two years ahead of schedule; Aligns with rest of sector to help one million young people in the next five years
SEATTLE (August 31, 2016) – The 100,000 Opportunities Initiative, the country’s largest employer-led coalition committed to creating pathways to meaningful employment for young people, today announced that it has met its goal of employing 100,000 Opportunity Youth, the population of 16-24 year olds who are out of work and not in school, two years ahead of schedule. The coalition, formed in July 2015, is now aligning with the cross-sector goal of creating one million opportunities by 2021. The group will continue to capture and share new recruiting and human resources practices tailored to hiring, retaining and advancing the Opportunity Youth demographic.
“A first job is the way many young people start their path in America. The creativity and commitment of the coalition to use our collective scale and convening power have taught us all many lessons as we reach an initial milestone to hire more than 100,000 Opportunity Youth,” said Howard Schultz, chairman and ceo of Starbucks and co-founder of the Schultz Family Foundation. “But, this is not a victory lap; our work is far from complete. This is just the beginning as we accelerate our efforts to build a network to reconnect one million Opportunity Youth in the next five years. By continuing to expand our coalition and leveraging the power of technology and hiring events, we will invest in solutions that further support the young people of America who are our future workers, customers and citizens.”
To date, more than 100,000 young people have found jobs with participating companies and more than 3,000 on-the-spot job offers were received at a series of employer-organized Opportunity Hiring Fairs in Chicago, Phoenix, Los Angeles and Seattle. In partnership with community leaders and elected officials, the innovative fairs help prepare young people for employment by teaching them interview techniques, resume-writing and advice regarding interview-appropriate clothing. The coalition is also building and sharing best practice models to engage young people in apprenticeships, internships, training programs and both part-time and full-time jobs.
“By using our scale and strengths, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation work to improve the lives of millions of people through creating economic mobility,” said Kathleen McLaughlin, President of the Walmart Foundation. “Through our Retail Opportunity initiative, we are working to not only advance our own 1.2 million associates, but elevate the entire retail sector. We are very pleased with the progress made to date through the 100,000 Opportunities Initiative and excited to continue working with other employers to hire, retain and build career pathways for opportunity youth.” 
“It is encouraging and exciting to see companies rethinking traditional hiring practices in ways that benefit youth and provide business value to employers,” said Judith Rodin, president of The Rockefeller Foundation. “The Rockefeller Foundation is proud to support the 100,000 Opportunities Initiative, and we look forward to continuing to work with these corporations committed to impact hiring. Together, we can grow these efforts to attract and retain qualified young people in a way that generates sustained impact, building a more inclusive economy that works for everyone.”
The latest companies to join the 100,000 Opportunities Initiative include Five Guys, Gene Juarez, Greyston Bakery, MOD Pizza, PCC Natural Markets, Savers and Swiss Post Solutions.  The initiative is generously supported by the Alaska Airlines, Arizona Community Foundation, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, California Endowment, Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, Delaware North, Dominos, FedEx, Hilton, HMS Host, JPMorgan Chase Foundation, MacArthur Foundation, Macy’s, Medina Foundation, Microsoft, My Brother’s Keeper Alliance, Nordstrom, Papa John’s, The Prudential Foundation, The Rockefeller Foundation, Seattle Foundation, Schultz Family Foundation, Starbucks, Starbucks Foundation, Taco Bell, Target, T-Mobile, Walmart Foundation and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. This work is supported by grants and led by The Aspen Institute’s Forum for Community Solutions and FSG.   
“Improving life outcomes for Opportunity Youth is a moral imperative and economic necessity, and we are thrilled to see the terrific response to this national effort from employers, community leaders and the young people themselves,” said Melody Barnes, chair of Aspen Institute’s Forum for Community Solutions. “We must stay the course and accelerate and deepen its efforts to provide opportunities to a million young people in the United States over the next five years so that we can make meaningful progress for this population.”
The Aspen Institute’s Forum for Community Solutions has served as an important intermediary for the initiative, leveraging its national Opportunity Youth Incentive Fund, which supports collaborative efforts focused on Opportunity Youth in 23 communities around the country. The Aspen Institute provides direct funding, leadership, technical assistance, and programmatic support to the 100,000 Opportunities Initiative in Chicago, Phoenix, Los Angeles, Seattle and future cities.
Companies and other organizations interested in joining or learning more about the 100,000 Opportunities Initiative can email members@100kopportunities.org.
About the 100,000 Opportunities Initiative
The 100,000 Opportunities Initiative is the nation’s largest employer-led coalition of private sector companies committed to supporting “opportunity youth” as they prepare for and secure employment. Opportunity Youth are the 5.5 million 16-24 year olds in the United States who are out of school and not employed. The 100,000 Opportunities Initiative members believe this population is an untapped pool of talent for employers in the country.
The 100,000 Opportunities Initiative has grown to nearly 50 leading U.S. companies including Accenture, Alaska Airlines, Chipotle Mexican Grill, Cintas, CVS Health, Delaware North, Dominos, Evolution Fresh, FedEx, Five Guys, Gene Juarez, Greyston Bakery, Hilton Worldwide, HMSHost, Hyatt, JCPenney, JPMorgan Chase, Leisure Care, Lyft, Macy’s, Mars, MOD Pizza, Microsoft, Nordstrom, Panda Express, Papa John’s, PCC Natural Markets, Pizza Hut, Porch.com, Potbelly Sandwich Shop, Prudential Financial, Red Robin, Republic Services, Savers, Services Group of America, Sprinkles, Starbucks, Sweetgreen, Swiss Post Solutions, Taco Bell, Target, Teavana, T-Mobile, TOMS, Ulta Beauty, VILLA, Walgreens and Walmart.
For more information on the funding organizations, employers and learning partners involved, please visit http://www.100kOpportunities.org.
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