Starbucks chairman Howard Schultz is leading a charge joined by more than a dozen big companies to help employ young people. Schultz is a man who knew we needed much more coffee that we ever thought, and the need for jobs among young people 18-24 is even more plain to see. If Schultz and company can fulfill it the way he’s fulfilled countless double latte requests, he’ll be a hero to millions. 5.6 million to be specific: the 100,000 Opportunities Initiative seeks to create full-time jobs, apprenticeships and internships for the 5.6 million Americans between 18-24 who are jobless and not in school.
Even steady reductions in US unemployment figures have left the 18-24 age group behind — the 18-24 figure hovers at around 18%. Schultz, who grew up poor, made a statement almost any candidate for national office would be afraid to make: “We’re living at a time when for-profit public companies must redefine their responsibilities to the communities they serve and to their employees,” Schultz said. It works for everyone, he might have added. No one drinks as much coffee — or buys as many consumer goods — as people with jobs do.
Other participating companies in the 100,000 Opportunities Initiative: Alaska Airlines, Cintas, CVS Health, Hilton Worldwide, HMSHost, JCPenney, JPMorgan Chase, Lyft, Macy’s, Microsoft, Porch.com, Potbelly Sandwich Shop, Starbucks, Taco Bell, Target, Walgreens and Walmart