Starbucks leads coalition of brands to fill 100,000 jobs with at-risk young people

The CEO of Starbucks says the rules of engagement for philanthropy are changing, as the company joins forces with more than a dozen others to form the ‘100,000 Opportunities Initiative’, a business coalition aiming to hire 100,000 ‘at-risk ’ US youths as apprentices, interns, part-time and full-time employees by 2018.

Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz is responsible for the initiative and in March pledged to hire 100,000 young, low-income people in the US by 2018, adding to the 150,000 plus current employees across the 12,000 US stores.

“We’re not displacing jobs, but creating incremental opportunities in most of these companies,” said Schultz.

The initiative will commence on 13 August in Chicago where a job fair and forum will bring the sponsoring companies together.

Over 2000 participants are expected to attend, with a goal of at least 200 on-the-spot job offers.

The forum will be hosted by Grammy and Academy Award winning musician, Common, who praised the initiative.

“I believe in the talent that lies within our young people and I know that when we give them a real chance, the will achieve and soar,” he said.

Starbucks believes the initiative will create real pathways to opportunity for these new hires while driving its business forward and strengthening the communities it serves.

The initiative is based around Schultz’s belief that a ‘leg up’ has a longer-lasting effect than a ‘hand-out’.

“The rules of engagement for philanthropy are changing, it’s not just  about writing a cheque,” said Schultz.

“Our approach is focussed on creating a coalition of like minds with local knowledge, expertise on-the-ground and the ability to scale the social impact of an initiative like this to create pathways of opportunity for literally millions of young people who can benefit from this program.”


Other business leaders including Wal-Mart stores president and CEO, Doug McMilon agree with this principle, citing it as a major reason as to why they joined the coalition.

“Through our opportunity initiative, we are working in partnership with others to address the fundamental challenges facing the retail and related industry workforces and create opportunities through job training that will allow for clear career advancement,” said McMilon.

Schultz argues that the need for private sector business and government to dig into the issue is hardly altruistic.

“If we allow the cultural and economic divide to continue to widen, I think we’re going to be facing significant social issues that are greater than the ones we have today,” he said.

“That’s why it’s so vitally important that we recognise that this cannot be business as usual,” said Schultz.

Sixteen other companies are joining Starbucks in forming the coalition, they include; Alaska Airlines, Cintas, CVS Health, Hilton, HMSHost, JCPenny Chase, Lyft, Macy’s, Microsoft,, Potbelly Sandwhich Shop, Taco Bell, Target, Walgreens and Walmart.



BY Tate Papworth ON 15 July 2015