Connecting Unemployed Youth with Organizations That Need Talent

Gap Inc. understands both hiring math and competitive strategy when it comes to filling entry-level jobs in its 3,000-plus Gap, Banana Republic, and Old Navy stores. Across the U.S., nearly 6 million entry-level jobs will be created from 2012 to 2022, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. With low unemployment, the competition for talent remains fierce. Gap is joining a growing corps of large companies that are turning to an overlooked pool of entry-level talent: the 5.5 million 16-to-24-year-olds, called “opportunity youth,” who are out of school and out of work. About half of these young people, once known as “at-risk youth” or “disconnected youth,” are black or Hispanic, and two-thirds face difficult life circumstances. Many come from families with incomes below the poverty line and suffer from lack of educational and career supports (read more).