1,000 economic opportunities for Chicago youth

CHICAGO — More than a dozen leading, U.S.-based companies announced the formation of the 100,000 Opportunities Initiative. The Initiative has the goal of being the nation’s largest employer-led coalition committed to creating pathways to meaningful employment for America’s young people. The coalition has the collective goal of engaging at least 100,000 Opportunity Youth – 16-24 year olds who face systemic barriers to jobs and education – by 2018 through apprenticeships, internships, training programs and part- and full-time jobs. Additionally, the coalition will leverage existing collaborative efforts on the ground in a handful of cities to partner in building these pathways. The founding companies include 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.

The 100,000 Opportunities Initiative will accelerate the coalition’s hiring commitment with an employer initiated Opportunity Fair & Forum for Opportunity Youth in Chicago on August 13, where the participating companies expect to collectively train more than 2,000 youth and make at least 200 on-the-spot job offers. By partnering with local workforce leaders, the 100,000 Opportunities Initiative expects to hire at least 1,000 youth in the Chicago area over the next 18 months. This initial event will serve as a catalyst for hiring and training efforts across the nation with the collective goal of engaging 100,000 Opportunity Youth by 2018.

The Opportunity Forum will be hosted by Grammy and Academy Award winning performing artist and actor Common who will lead an open discussion with more than 2,000 young people and their support networks focused on economic opportunity in America. Joining Common on stage will be special guests, entertainers and speakers.

The Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership will serve as an aggregator and intermediary for the initial event in Chicago. The 100,000 Opportunities Initiative will also engage a broad collaboration of community based organizations to provide resources including on-the-spot mentorship and feedback, mock-interviews and skills training for job readiness, college prep, volunteer opportunities and internships.

Source: Chicago Mayor’s press release

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Delores Jackson

Delores Jackson was Director of Corporate Learning for Oklahoma City Community College for eight years, consulting with business leaders to determine the training and develop needs of their employees, designing the programs, and managing a staff of professional trainers. ...