More than a dozen top US companies announced Monday a drive to hire or train at least 100,000 young Americans from disadvantaged backgrounds by 2018.
Starbucks and JPMorgan Chase are among the 17 companies forming the 100,000 Opportunities Initiative, a coalition to help Americans between the ages of 16 and 24 "who face systemic barriers to jobs and education," the companies said in a statement.
Through apprenticeships, internships, training programs and both part-time and full-time jobs, the coalition aims to open up pathways to economic opportunities for the some of the 5.6 million youth who are out of school and not working.
In the US, there are 3.5 million unfilled jobs that do not require a four-year college degree, the group noted, but often young people are unaware of them and lack the skills to pursue and land the jobs.
US Labor Secretary Thomas Perez welcomed the initiative: "I hope more employers will follow their lead."
"In America, your ZIP code should never determine your destiny. Breaking down barriers to employment for young people doesn't just help the individual workers – it benefits entire communities and the economy at large," Perez said in the statement.
The coalition said that at its first fair, to be held in Chicago on August 13, the participating companies were expecting to train more than 2,000 youth and make at least 200 job offers.
In addition to coffee chain Starbucks and JPMorgan Chase, the founding companies are Alaska Airlines, Cintas, CVS Health, Hilton Worldwide, HMSHost, JCPenney, Lyft, Macy’s, Microsoft, Porch.com, Potbelly Sandwich Shop, Taco Bell, Target, Walgreens and Walmart.