Our History.

In 2012, Measure of America published the first comprehensive report on opportunity youth – young people ages 16-24 who were disconnected from school or work. It revealed that, nationwide, 5.8 million – or 1 in 7 – teenagers and young adults in this age group found themselves “adrift at society’s margins, unmoored from the systems and structures that confer knowledge, skills, identity, and purpose.”

In 2012, Measure of America published the first comprehensive report on opportunity youth – young people ages 16-24 who were disconnected from school or work. It revealed that, nationwide, 5.8 million – or 1 in 7 – teenagers and young adults in this age group found themselves “adrift at society’s margins, unmoored from the systems and structures that confer knowledge, skills, identity, and purpose.” This problem is costly both for the young people themselves, whose disconnection results in extensive consequences to their earnings, self-sufficiency, and health – and for society, where greater need for public assistance, crime, incarceration, health issues, and a continuation of the cycle of intergenerational poverty results in a heavy burden to communities and taxpayers alike.

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In 2015, Howard Schultz, then CEO of Starbucks, committed to making opportunity youth a corporate priority. Upon realizing that there were roughly 7 million unfilled entry-level jobs in the U.S. and simultaneously over 5 million opportunity youth sitting on the sidelines of mainstream economic America – in most cases champing at the bit for an opportunity, he concluded that this was a matter of connecting the dots and mobilizing employers to include opportunity youth in their hiring efforts. With 50+ U.S. companies in alliance around this mission, the 100,000 Opportunities Initiative was born – with a bold goal of placing 100,000 opportunity youth in jobs with companies committed to their success and advancement. Catalytic hiring events in cities around the country followed, including the establishment of National Youth Hiring Day in 2018. Members shared best practices, focused on the development of support systems and pathways to advancement tailored to opportunity youth, and exceeded the original goal of 100,000 placements while increasing awareness of the value in this untapped talent pipeline.

With 50+ U.S. companies in alliance around this mission, the 100,000 Opportunities Initiative was born – with a bold goal of placing 100,000 opportunity youth in jobs with companies committed to their success and advancement.

Now, in 2020, with the original goal surpassed and a new sense of urgency driven by both the economic devastation of the pandemic and social unrest that has heightened the focus on historic and systemic inequities, the 100,000 Opportunities Initiative has been relaunched as The Hire Opportunity Coalition. Researchers estimate that 1 in 4 youth ages 16-24 will be disconnected from school or work as a result of the pandemic. This represents a staggering 9 million young people whose disconnection has significant ripple effects on their futures and those of their communities, and whose potential to contribute to American companies is being wasted. At the same time, private enterprise is being called upon to lead the effort toward an economic recovery that ensures equity and justice are central to workforce development.

The Hire Opportunity Coalition exists to build the capacity of companies to hire, retain and professionally develop opportunity youth, and in doing provides an essential lever to a more prosperous, inclusive and equitable workforce.

Through rich partnerships with its member companies, national network partners and local community organizations alike, The Hire Opportunity Coalition seeks to elevate the importance of opportunity youth employment and provides a comprehensive solution for supporting opportunity youth hiring.

Our goal is for a million opportunity youth to be hired by 2025.

Our community is strongest when individuals and companies get involved.