The 100,000 Opportunities Initiative Plans for Future Success

New report charts a strategy to reach the goal of hiring one million opportunity youth.

SEATTLE, January 22, 2019 — Three and a half years after its formation, the 100,000 Opportunities Initiative is at a pivotal moment for expanding a national movement for employing opportunity youth, who are brimming with potential, out of school, and ready to work.

Launched in 2015, our initiative has brought national attention to the importance and value of hiring these youth to close employment gaps so everyone wins.

We surpassed our original goal of 100,000 opportunity youth being hired two years ahead of schedule and are now working to ensure one million will be employed by 2021.

To help define the work ahead, we are releasing a report, Looking to the Future: Assessing Success & Charting a Path Forward, developed by the Panorama Group, an action think tank working to solve global and social issues. This white paper looks at our initiative’s accomplishments and proposes options for future direction. Insights were gathered over several months, through program analysis and interviews with key participants, to capture candid perspectives on progress to date, challenges, and best practices. We are reviewing its findings and have tapped engaged coalition members to weigh in.

Some key observations about the initiative’s successes are presented in the report:

  • Over 200,000 opportunity youth have already been hired.
  • 17% to 47% of participants at Opportunity Youth Job Fairs were hired on the spot.
  • Our employer coalition has grown to 55 companies nationwide.

Many of our 55 national corporate partners have taken proactive steps, including:

  • FedEx created an employment pathways program to place individuals with unique barriers to employment in jobs, in collaboration with employers in need of talent.
  • Starbucks committed to hiring 100,000 opportunity youth by 2020 and formed a Youth Leadership Council that has provided input on recruiting strategies and benefits.
  • Walmart developed an education benefit where its associates can earn a Bachelor’s or Associate’s degree for $1/day, as part of its efforts to retain more entry-level employees.

The time is now
In executing the future vision for the initiative, the report charts a path to refine strategic goals, realign how partners work together, and retool the delivery of services, with the goal of continuing to expand the number of opportunity youth who are hired and retained.

Some recommendations include updating the job fair model, ensuring best practice sharing across stakeholders, redesigning the initiative’s structure, increasing resources, developing a robust data measurement system, and expanding performance indicators to include retention and longer-term outcomes.

By building on existing partnerships and adjusting our operating model to address potential challenges, the report states that the initiative will be well positioned for continued success.