August 4, 2015 Company

29 Companies to Kick Off the 100,000 Opportunities Initiative in Chicago

Fueled by Additional Member Companies and More than 40 Local Chicago Community Organizations, the Three-Year Commitment to Hiring 100,000 Opportunity Youth Begins on Aug. 13 in Chicago, and Will Serve as the Model for Future Cities of Impact

Chicago (August 4, 2015) – The 100,000 Opportunities Initiative, a national coalition of leading U.S.-based companies committed to hiring at least 100,000 Opportunity Youth by 2018, today welcomed additional partners – including Chipotle Mexican Grill, Domino’s, FedEx, Hyatt, Mars, Nordstrom, Pizza Hut, Prudential, Red Robin, Sweetgreen, and T-Mobile – to the collective effort to form the nation’s largest employer-led coalition committed to creating pathways to meaningful employment for America’s young people. 

“Through this unprecedented partnership with the private and public sector, we will further accelerate our collective hiring efforts over the next three years,” said Blair Taylor, Starbucks chief community officer. “Chicago represents an important city for this launch. While there are more than 200,000 Opportunity Youth in Chicago alone, there is also an incredibly vibrant system of civic leaders, nonprofit organizations, businesses and elected officials who share a commitment to bridging this opportunity divide. And, I am confident that our collective impact in Chicago will serve as the blueprint for communities across the country for years to come.”

The national initiative, which now includes 29 companies spanning a number of various industries, is committed to collectively hiring and engaging at least 100,000 Opportunity Youth – 16- to 24-year-olds who face systemic barriers to jobs and education – by 2018 through apprenticeships, internships, training programs, and both part-time and full-time jobs. The coalition will work with community-based organizations and civic leaders to help deliver the local skills training and hiring opportunities young people need, ensuring that this truly cross-sector effort is sustained in the long-term.   

For more than ten years, Sheri Schultz, cofounder of the Schultz Family Foundation, which is a key supporter of the 100,000 Opportunities Initiative, has been working with community-based organizations to develop job training programs for youth and young adults.  “Like all of us, these young people need clear pathways to employment so they can acquire the skills and support to be work ready,” said Schultz. “We know that this is a complex issue and we need all of our collective horsepower to solve it. For too long, it’s been the nonprofit and public sectors tackling this issue, without meaningful involvement from the private sector. Closing the opportunity divide requires bold leadership and innovation across all sectors.”

Chicago Opportunity Fair & Forum

The official launch of the 100,000 Opportunities Initiative will take place on Thursday, Aug. 13 in Chicago, where the participating companies, in collaboration with the Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership and community-based organizations, expect to collectively engage at least 3,000 pre-registered youth and anticipate making hundreds of on-the-spot job offers, delivering immediate impact for their businesses, the Chicago community and many participating candidates. This ticketed event will begin with an Opportunity Fair, which will feature informative, inspirational and interactive experiences for youth including workshops, on-the-spot mentoring and feedback, college counseling, skills development, and entertaining events and activities. This will spur long-term engagement, which will help participating companies hire thousands of youth in the Chicago area over the next 18 months. This is expected to deliver an unprecedented impact to the young people and businesses in Chicago.

“A job is the first step for many toward a responsible life, and we are energized by the commitment of these companies to engage and hire so many young people in our region who are looking to take this significant step,” said Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle. “I commend the companies who are participating in this initiative, as our young people represent an unrealized pipeline of talent and an engine of economic growth for our communities.”

“Bringing this first hiring fair to Chicago will have an impact on both the businesses and the young people that they will hire for years to come, supporting growth in the City’s economy and creating more opportunities for our residents,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “Chicago will have the chance to showcase its talented workforce to the participating companies and further increase the potential of our residents to secure lasting employment.”

Following the Opportunity Fair, an inspirational Opportunity Forum will be hosted by Academy and Grammy® Award winning performing artist Common, who will lead an open discussion with more than 3,000 young people and their support networks focused on economic opportunity in America. Joining Common on stage will be special guests, local “heroes,” young people, entertainers and speakers. The event is a ticketed event for pre-registered young people and their support networks. 

The following member companies have joined the 100,000 Opportunities Initiative, and many will be represented at the first Opportunity Fair & Forum in Chicago:

Alaska Airlines, Chipotle, Cintas, CVS Health, Domino’s, FedEx, Hilton Worldwide, HMSHost, Hyatt, JCPenney, JP Morgan Chase, Lyft, Macy’s, Mars, Microsoft, Nordstrom, Pizza Hut, Porch.com, Potbelly Sandwich Shop, Prudential, Red Robin, Starbucks, Sweetgreen, Taco Bell, Target, Teavana, T-Mobile, Walgreens and Walmart.

More than 40 community based organizations, government agencies, and other organizations have joined together to participate in the Chicago Opportunity Fair & Forum with the objective of connecting Opportunity Youth to services, workshops, and employment opportunities. 

Highlights include:

Twelve different organizations will host workshops on rotating topics, including the Chicago Urban League who will help young people craft a great resume and provide tips for how to make an application stand out when applying online and College Advising Corps, who will advise young people on how to choose a college pathway that is right for them and how to finance their college choice.  

More than 10 workforce development and youth support agencies, including Youth Guidance, Goodwill, YearUp, and Employment & Employer Services, will be available for youth to get connected to support, training, and job placement services. Attendees will also be able to connect to national service opportunities through organizations, including Public Allies and City Year, that will be recruiting youth to join paid programs where they can build skills while giving back to their communities and schools.

LinkedIn will be onsite to help attendees create and improve their LinkedIn profiles and provide tips for building their online professional networks.

Youth will have also have opportunities through Get Schooled, Road Trip Nation, and the Young Chicago Authors to find new and creative ways to express themselves.

Participants will also be able to get reconnected to the Chicago Public School system through the SOAR program, access crucial personal documentation through the Secretary of State, and even discover all the resources available through the Chicago Public Library.  

The following is the complete list of community-based organizations, government services, and other organizations that will have a presence at the fair, in addition to the more than 200 agencies helping to recruit youth to attend the event and interview for jobs:  

All-Stars Project, Arizona State University, Beyond Z, Boys and Girls Club of Chicago, Business and Career Services, Inc., Chicago City of Learning, Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership, Chicago Public Libraries, Chicago Public Schools, Chicago Urban League, Chicagoland Workforce Funder Alliance, City Colleges of Chicago, City Year, College Advising Corps, College Greenlight, Department of Family & Support Services, Economic Awareness Council, Employment & Employer Services, Get Schooled, Goodwill, Illinois Mentoring Network, Indigo, La Casa Norte, LeadersUp, LinkedIn, Metropolitan Family Services, National Council of Young Leaders/Opportunity Youth United, One Goal, One Million Degrees, One Summer Chicago, Public Allies, Road Trip Nation, Secretary of State, Central States SER, Service Nation, Teach for America, Thrive Chicago, UIC, Year Up, Young Chicago Authors, Youth Guidance, YouthBuild USA.

Funders participating in the initiative include:

Accenture (in kind), Domino’s, FedEx, Joyce Foundation, JPMorgan Chase Foundation, MacArthur Foundation, Prudential, The Rockefeller Foundation, Schultz Family Foundation, Starbucks, Walmart Foundation and W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

Download 100,000 Opportunities Media Fact Sheet here


Leadership and Commitment to Hiring Opportunity Youth

The Aspen Institute’s Forum for Community Solutions will act as an intermediary for the initiative in the hiring cities, building upon the existing work of its national Opportunity Youth Incentive Fund (OYIF). The OYIF currently supports collaborative efforts focused on Opportunity Youth in 21 communities around the country. The Aspen Institute will provide direct leadership, technical assistance, and programmatic support to launch the 100,000 Opportunities Initiative in Chicago and future cities.

Chipotle: Commitment to Opportunity Youth

Chipotle provides extraordinary advancement opportunities and industry leading benefits for its employees. Currently, more than 95 percent of Chipotle’s managers come from within the ranks of its crew, and the company recently expanded its benefit programs to include paid sick days and vacation days, as well as tuition reimbursement for hourly crew.  With more than 75 percent of its workforce aged 16-24, Chipotle offers a career path that is ideal for young, ambitious people entering the workforce. The company's people culture is built around identifying top performers, empowering them to achieve high standards, and developing them to become the company’s future leaders. With more than 1,850 restaurants, 60,000 employees and 2,100 open positions, Chipotle is always looking for additional top performing individuals to join its team.

Domino’s: Commitment to Opportunity Youth

At Domino’s, 90% of our franchisees started in delivery driver or in-store positions. They turned their first job into an amazing career as business owners. Our franchisees and corporate store leaders are committed to serving neighborhoods all around the country. Domino’s is a brand of opportunity, and as we continue our growth trajectory, we can fill thousands of jobs throughout the country in our company-owned and franchised stores this year alone. Many of these positions will be filled by young people looking for an entry-point into the workforce.

FedEx: Commitment to Opportunity Youth

FedEx believes that access to new markets, knowledge and opportunities makes people’s lives better. We know that connections foster prosperity, and to maintain progress toward a better world, we must not only create Access for today’s thinkers, leaders and entrepreneurs, but for the next generation as well. Our commitment to education is focused on innovative solutions that help close the achievement gap and create and teach Access. Together with some of the top nonprofit organizations across the country, we are supporting tomorrow’s diverse young leaders to gain the skills and experience they need to succeed.  

Hyatt: Commitment to Opportunity Youth

Hyatt, a leading global hospitality company with more than 97,000 colleagues worldwide, has a deep global commitment to caring for people to be their best. A key component of the company’s corporate responsibility program, Hyatt Thrive, focuses on programs that equip disadvantaged people and youth to reach their full potential. Across the U.S. and in places around the world such as Amman, Bangkok, Istanbul, São Paulo, Mumbai and Delhi, Hyatt hotels have long partnered with organizations such as Youth Career Initiative and Hands on Education to provide skills training and expanded career choices. This year, Hyatt also announced plans to develop a new, multi-year partnership with Khan Academy, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing free access to world-class education online.

Nordstrom: Commitment to Opportunity Youth

Nordstrom continues to evolve the ways it serves customers at its stores (at Nordstrom, Nordstrom Rack, Jeffrey, and Trunk Club clubhouses) and online (at Nordstrom.com, Nordstromrack.com, HauteLook.com, and TrunkClub.com). The company recognizes that connecting with young people – the next generation of customers and retail talent – is the best way to ensure long-term support of this growth. To make these connections, Nordstrom has created strong relationships with universities around the country where company leaders participate in round table conversations, job shadows and cooperative education projects. Additionally, each year the company provides thousands of job and educational opportunities through its own internship program and community partners such as YearUp, Rainier Scholars, the LaGrant Foundation and Out For Work. Nordstrom is committed to giving back by providing contributions to organizations that empower youth such as the Boys & Girls Club, Girls Inc., Big Brothers Big Sisters, Junior Achievement and Black Retail Action Group (BRAG). The company also awards 80 Nordstrom Scholarships each year to outstanding high school students who are ready to pursue their college education. 

Pizza Hut: Commitment to Opportunity Youth

Pizza Hut is the world’s largest pizza company and has a long-standing commitment to the betterment of young people through education and opportunity. Through the Pizza Hut BOOK IT! youth literacy program, which started in 1984 and is now the longest-running corporate supported literacy program in the country, Pizza Hut provides more than 14 million students each year with materials and messages about the positive impact a love for reading can have on their future. In addition, Pizza Hut – which employees more than 150,000 people a year in the U.S. alone – champions a culture of unlocking potential, demonstrated by the number of above restaurant leaders who began with the company as team members and shift managers. Pizza Hut is committed to continuing to motivate and provide opportunity for young people to be introduced to a rewarding career in the restaurant industry. 

Red Robin: Commitment to Opportunity Youth

Red Robin Gourmet Burgers, Inc. (NASDAQ: RRGB) has been the Gourmet Burger Authority since 1969. The casual dining restaurant chain embodies its unique culture of learning, development and recognition, which also serves as the foundation for how it treats its Team Members. With more than 13,000 hourly Team Members between the ages of 18-25, Red Robin is proud to support the 100,000 Opportunities Initiative at the Opportunity Fair & Forum in Chicago, on Aug. 13. As part of its commitment to youth, Red Robin offers meaningful career opportunities, on the job training and life-long skills. Red Robin is a support network that cares about its Team Members both personally and professionally, and regardless of where their careers take them, many find they are Better for Being Here. 

T-Mobile: Commitment to Opportunity Youth

As America's Un-carrier, T-Mobile is changing wireless for the better.  We bring that same Un-carrier approach to how we support and engage America’s youth as a critical part of our award-winning workforce.  We are committed to building career pathways for youth in communities across the country, providing them with a wealth of skills, training, and experiences to be successful in the mobile world and beyond. The “mobile-first generation” is critical to T-Mobile and we are proud to participate in the 100,000 Opportunities Initiative to build the future -- together.  


Leaders Quotes

“We believe that our success is the direct result of our incredibly strong people culture, which is rooted in having teams of all top performers, and developing them to be the leaders we will need to accommodate our growth,” said Monty Moran, co-chief executive officer at Chipotle Mexican Grill. “The nature of opportunities we provide are ideal for young people entering the workforce. Regardless of your background or experience, you can succeed at Chipotle if you have a passion for making the people around you better. Working here isn’t just a job, but a career where employees learn how to make others better, run a successful business, master culinary techniques, and most importantly, lead teams of top performers through empowerment. For people who embrace that culture, the opportunities are tremendous.” 

"At The Partnership, we’re excited to extend our support for 100,000 Opportunities Initiative,” said Karin M. Norington-Reaves, Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership Chief Executive Officer. “We believe that this initiative will provide youth with the experience, skills and inspiration they need to achieve employment and fulfilling careers."

“The 100,000 Opportunities Initiative can provide a pathway for young people to succeed in many of the neighborhoods our brand serves, through employment in company-owned and franchised stores that offers basic job skills, operations, and management training programs, and exposure to an enthusiastic global brand,” said Domino’s CEO Patrick Doyle. “We are proud to team up with other iconic brands in this initiative to build the next generation of skilled team members and business owners.”

"At Hyatt, caring for people to be their best is how we make a difference in the world – in our hotels and in our communities,” said Mark Hoplamazian, President and CEO of Hyatt Hotels Corporation. “A critical part of this is providing young people opportunities to reach their full potential. We are delighted to join forces in the 100,000 Opportunities Initiative, and are optimistic about the positive impact we can make - starting in our hometown of Chicago.”

"LeadersUp is proud to support the 100,000 Opportunities Initiative. Our work with the Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership in helping to prepare young adults with the skills employers are seeking will strengthen the talent-pipeline between local companies and Chicago’s opportunity youth,” said Jeffrey Wallace, President of LeadersUp. “The 100,000 Opportunities Initiative illustrates the significant impact public-private partnerships can make in addressing the youth unemployment and the talent-divide challenge, and is a shift in the right direction towards creating a more inclusive economy."

“Pizza Hut is dedicated to helping people unlock life’s potential,” said David Gibbs, CEO, of Pizza Hut, Inc. “As the leader of the pizza category, we felt it was our responsibility, and privilege, to join the 100,000 Opportunities Initiative to help provide young people with the tools and know-how to get job ready.”

“Red Robin is excited to be part of the 100,000 Opportunities Initiative and work alongside many of America’s most influential companies, helping to guide thousands of young people across the country to start their careers,” said Denny Marie Post, Red Robin’s executive vice president and chief concept officer. “Our brand creates special moments in the lives of guests and Team Members alike. We seek to build Team Members skills and focus during their time with Red Robin, and even beyond. Red Robin Team Members know they have a great support network and we are committed to helping them achieve their goals. We look for Team Members who embody the Red Robin spirit of genuine service and provide them with the leadership skills necessary to grow successful careers.”

“By working to align efforts of service providers, city agencies, the K-12 system, institutions of higher education, foundations, and others, we at Thrive Chicago are able to help young people succeed,” said Jennifer Keeling, director of Thrive Chicago. “In partnership with the 100,000 Opportunities Initiative and these industry-leading companies who are hiring qualified candidates, we are able to connect hundreds of local Opportunity Youth with jobs.”

"Investing time in America's youth is a perfect match for T-Mobile,” said John Legere, president and CEO of T-Mobile. “So many kids out there have to fight huge odds to compete, to get ahead and to win – just like we do. What could be better than bringing some of that talent and ambition to the Un-carrier?"


For more leader quotes from members of the 100,000 Opportunities Initiative, including Alaska Airlines, Cintas, CVS Health, Hilton Worldwide, HMSHost, JCPenney, JPMorgan Chase, Lyft, Macy’s, Microsoft, Porch.com, Potbelly Sandwich Shop, Starbucks, Taco Bell, Target, Teavana, Walgreens and Walmart,  visit: www.100kOpportunities.org. Media interested in attending the event must pre-register for credentials by contacting media@100kOpportunities.org.  

About the 100,000 Opportunities Initiative

The 100,000 Opportunities Initiative has the goal of creating the nation’s largest employer-led private sector coalition committed to creating pathways to employment for young people. Companies engaged in the coalition will help to launch careers for young people that are just entering the workforce, including internships, apprenticeships and on the job training, in addition to developing potential in youth that have some work experience but are looking to gain new skills that lead to a successful career.  For more information, please visit www.100kOpportunities.org

For more information on this news release, contact us