Making a Commitment to Youth

The Lempert Report
August 03, 2015

With the recent announcement of the "100,000 Opportunities Initiative", supermarkets should take this as an opportunity to make their own commitment to today's youth.

It was recently announced that a coalition of some of the nation's largest companies, have joined forces and pledged to hire 100,000 young Americans who have been shut out of the job market.  Spearheaded by Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, it's called the "100,000 Opportunities Initiative" with the purpose of giving a leg up to the estimated 5.5 million Americans, ages 16 to 24, who aren't employed or in school, a group who demographers and economists refer to  as "disconnected youth."

Starbucks has pledged to hire 10,000 youth by the end of 2018, but they're not alone.   16 other companies will also look to hire young people for apprenticeships, internships and part-time or full-time jobs. In addition to Starbucks, companies such as CVS Health, Taco Bell, Target, Walgreens, Microsoft, Chase, to names just a few.. have made the commitment.  The coalition will host its first jobs fair in Chicago on Aug. 13, about 2,000 young people are expected to attend the first fair and the companies' have set a goal of making 1,000 hires — including 200 on-the-spot job hires — from the youth who attend.

More and more, companies are taking the notion of social responsibility head on. In a quote from USA Today, Schultz said "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."  And when it comes to such social responsibility supermarkets too should be making an effort. While local supermarkets and grocery stores may not have the capabilities to partake in large scale job fairs, they can certainly make a commitment their neighborhoods youth. Provide opportunities for young people to enter into the job market, to learn about the company, about retail and about food.  As centers for their community, supermarkets should be reaching out with opportunities from jobs to apprenticeships and internships, not only can they become opportunities for work but also opportunities for education. Invest in their future, and not only do you build a strong and loyal workforce, but also strengthen the community in which you serve.