Job Opportunities Coalition Pledges to Hire, Train Seattle Youth

April 27, 2016

Ten months after launching a coalition pledging to train and hire 100,000 American youths who face systemic barriers to jobs and education, Starbucks, Alaska Airlines, Microsoft and other major companies will hold interviews at Seattle's CenturyLink Field on May 5.

The 100,000 Opportunities Initiative aims to create the nation’s largest employer-led private sector coalition committed to creating pathways to employment, including internships, apprenticeships and on-the-job training. Its job fairs in Chicago, Phoenix and Los Angeles have led to employment or higher education opportunities for more than 25,000 people; more than 1,500 job applicants between ages 16 and 24 are expected to attend the Seattle Opportunity Affair next week.

“A great first job can truly open up a pathway to lifelong opportunity for a young person,” said Howard Schultz, chairman and CEO of Starbucks. “Starbucks is proud to partner with the community in Seattle to connect Opportunity Youth with a pathway to their first job. We believe companies across the county have a role and responsibility to create opportunities for young people across the economic spectrum.  We are eager to do our part in providing on the spot jobs offers in our hometown of Seattle.” 

From the announcement:

With 5.5 million young Americans not working and not in school, the 100,000 Opportunities Initiative, a coalition of 40 top U.S. companies, today announced plans to expand its national youth hiring movement to Seattle beginning with a job fair on May 5 at Seattle’s CenturyLink Field Event Center.

Together, they will interview hundreds of youth in an effort to connect many of King County’s estimated 50,593 Opportunity Youth — 16- to 24-year-olds who are disconnected from employment and education — to meaningful job opportunities and a pathway to success. The event will also kick-start a long-term effort in partnership with many of the region’s leading businesses, nonprofit organizations, educational institutions and civic leaders to employ thousands of local youth, accelerating the coalition’s national goal to hire at least 100,000 opportunity youth by 2018.

“We’re thrilled to partner with so many respected brands and give young people the opportunity to thrive and grow in today’s economy,” said Brad Tilden, CEO of Alaska Airlines. “Building work-related skills and gaining solid work experience will prepare today’s youth for the future and strengthen our community.”

In Seattle, and around the country, youth unemployment still tops 12 percent, disproportionately impacting young people of color and those from low-income communities. The coalition will work alongside Seattle’s community and civic leaders including the City of Seattle, King County, Educurious, Community Center for Education Results & the Roadmap Project, the United Way of King County, and other key partners to build on existing opportunity youth hiring efforts and ensure the initiative is sustained in the long run.

“The City of Seattle is proud to be a partner in this employer-led effort to help all our young people develop the skills they need to thrive in a 21st-century workforce,” said Seattle Mayor Ed Murray. “The 100,000 Opportunities Initiative, in collaboration with my Youth Employment Initiative, is an investment in the future of our young people and in creating more equitable access to opportunity. It is a critical step toward ensuring all of our young people share in the prosperity of our innovation economy.”

"Through this important initiative in Seattle and King County, we plan to build integrated employment and education pathways that reconnect young people to opportunity and develop a long-term model for engagement and retention,” said Nicole Yohalem, Director of the Road Map Project’s Opportunity Youth Initiative for the Community Center for Education Results.

Interested candidates are invited to register for free and pre-schedule their interviews for the May 5 hiring event at www.100kOpportunities.org/Seattle. Lyft, a member of the 100,000 Opportunities Initiative, will provide free rides up to $50 for candidates who are new Lyft passengers to help them easily access transportation to and from the event. Youth will also have access to more than 30 vital employment, educational and social services, including one-on-one resume and interview coaching; access to high school and equivalency through admissions to programs at the University of Washington; opportunities for civic engagement like voter registration and national service; the chance to build an online profile with LinkedIn’s experts; and more.

“We believe in creating a broad range of new opportunities for young people who have many interests and backgrounds while at the same time creating a pipeline for technology talent that sparks innovation,” said Mary Snapp, corporate vice president of Microsoft Philanthropies. “We look forward to connecting job fair attendees with career opportunities at our retail stores, as well as on-site mentoring to further their education and enter careers in high-tech fields.”

“Our community can make a difference in the lives of opportunity youth.  With more than 50,000 Opportunity Youth in the Seattle area, we have a responsibility to offer creative new solutions to help young people find opportunity,” said Sheri Schultz, co-founder of the Schultz Family Foundation. “Our strategic collaboration includes the private sector, local governments, community-based organizations and foundations — all working together to create a better system of opportunity for young people who are facing barriers to that first job or first introduction to community engagement. The Schultz Family Foundation is excited to be part of this important work.”   

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