Several major American companies to help ‘thousands’ of Atlanta youth find jobs

By  – Staff Writer, Atlanta Business Chronicle

A coalition of more than 50 U.S. companies including FedEx Corp. (NYSE: FDX), Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT), Starbucks Corp. (Nasdaq: SBUX) and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE: WMT) have a new goal of employing thousands of youth in Atlanta.

The 100,000 Opportunities Initiative will host a job and resource fair on May 3 at the Georgia World Congress Center. The fair will kick off a long-term effort with more than 75 other regional stakeholders, including the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation, The Center for Working Families, City of Atlanta, Georgia Department of Economic Development, Metro Atlanta eXchange for Workforce Solutions, Rockefeller Foundation, Schultz Family Foundation and United Way, plus Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and Governor Nathan Deal’s administrations to help create economic opportunities for an estimated 110,000 young people ages 16-24 who are not in school or employed.

An estimated 4.9 million Americans in that age group are not in school or employed. In Atlanta, this translates to an estimated 110,000, or nearly 13.6 percent of, young adults, according to the coalition citing data from Measures of America.

The coalition is expected to help connect “thousands” of Atlanta-area youth to employment pathways with its participating companies. The job and resource fair itself will include hundreds of on-the-spot interviews and employment offers, and access to career resources, resume development, practice interviews, assistance creating online candidate profiles, as well as mentoring and coaching support.

Since launching in 2015, the national initiative has helped more than 175,000 youth find jobs in Chicago, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Seattle, Dallas and Washington DC, with the goal of hiring one million by 2021.

The number of job offers made as a result of the fair vary city-to-city. The last fair in Washington D.C. resulted in more than 1,000 on-the-spot job offers. In Dallas, more than 700 immediate offers were made, the coalition told Atlanta Business Chronicle.

Nationally, youth unemployment still tops 12 percent, disproportionately impacting young people from low- to medium-income communities.

The disconnection rate disproportionately affects young people of color. In Atlanta, the disconnection from work and school for black youth is 17.8 percent; for Latin youth its 13.1 percent; for white youth it’s 10.9 percent, the collation found.

Frank Fernandez, Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation’s vice president of community development, said the initiative aligns with the foundation’s commitment to the Westside and at the $1.5 billion Mercedes-Benz Stadium — to help connect youth to job opportunities that otherwise may not be available to them.

Five Guys Founder and CEO Jerry Murrell said his company offered more than 100 jobs at last year’s Washington D.C. fair and “with around 20 locations in Atlanta and surrounding areas, we are excited to meet the Atlanta youth and invite them to join the Five Guys family.”

The collation also reported it will host an ongoing series of smaller events to support thousands of young adults looking for work.

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