Starbucks Canada is announcing $200,000 in Starbucks Foundation 'Opportunity for Youth' grants, awarded to three Canadian charitable organizations which are focused on providing support for disadvantaged and disconnected youth.
In Canada, youth unemployment rates are more than double the national average.* Starbucks is working with some of the country's top youth organizations to offer life skills training and meaningful employment opportunities for vulnerable young people. The Opportunity for Youth grants are a reflection of Starbucks long history of investing in programs that equip young people with the skills and training required for the global economy.
Here are this year's grant recipients, and a description of how the funds will support young people in Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal:
Youth Employment Services – Toronto
To help Toronto’s opportunity youth (those between the ages of 16 and 24 who are not in school or not employeed) succeed in a competitive labor market, Youth Employment Services (YES) has developed the Youth Employment Champion Initiative to provide youth with the skills, tools, knowledge, and resources needed to find and maintain employment. Funds from the Starbucks Foundation Opportunity for Youth grants will contribute to supporting the 680 young people in the program, many of whom are facing challenges such as living in poverty, having less than Grade 12 education, suffering from mental health issues and have no prior work experience.
“YES is proud to work with Starbucks to help empower youth through our entrepreneur and job skills programs,” said Timothy Lang, President and CEO, YES. “YES is the Canadian leader in providing youth employment services and helps over 10,000 youth per year. YES is delighted to have Starbucks support, which will help change lives forever.”
Covenant House Vancouver – Vancouver
Covenant House Vancouver has been helping disadvantaged young people overcome obstacles to independence for nearly 18 years. Rights of Passage is a five-step program strategically designed to help youth between the ages of 16-24 improve their lives and achieve sustainable employment. The Starbucks Opportunity for Youth grant will help fund all five steps of the program to help youth deal with challenges and move in a positive direction in life where they will achieve healthy independence.
“Covenant House Vancouver is honored to receive such an impactful gift from Starbucks Foundation to help us support at-risk and homeless youth who want to change their lives,” said Krista Thompson, Executive Director, Covenant House Vancouver. “The Opportunity for Youth grant means that youth who didn’t have a loving home to grow up in, and who never learned how to take care of themselves, will receive long-term, supportive transitional-housing in our Rights of Passage program. They will learn and practice new life skills while they are working or attending school. This support means that Covenant House Vancouver can lastingly lift these young people out of poverty and off the street.”
Le Bon Dieu Dans la Rue – Montreal
Dans la Rue provides employability programs for youth whose social and skill development have been severely compromised having left home at an early age and/or having been through Youth Protection Services. Dans la Rue will use the Starbucks Foundation funding to help develop the Community Employment Opportunities program for youth by establishing new community partnerships, short and long-term internships for youth and further permanent job opportunities.
“We are extremely grateful to receive funding from Starbucks Opportunity for Youth Grants,” said Cécile Arbaud, Executive Director, Dans la Rue. “Thanks to Starbucks, we can establish the community employment opportunities for youth initiative and develop new partnerships to provide marginalized youth with short and long-term job opportunities. As the youth move beyond the safe confines of Dans la Rue’s work environment, they will become more integrated into the community and become more self-sufficient.”
*Source: Labour Force Survey, Statistics Canada 2015
About Creating Opportunity in Canada
In addition to the Opportunity for Youth grants, Starbucks Canada is committed to offering a comprehensive work-placement program that combines in-class core life skills and employability training with on-the-job work placement experience in Starbucks. Together with charitable organizations in Toronto, Vancouver and Calgary, since 2002, the Starbucks Barista Work-Readiness program has graduated over than 500 youth – more than 80 percent of whom have then furthered their education or found meaningful employment. Some were hired by Starbucks permanently.
This past April, Starbucks Canada announced a commitment to provide 10 percent of its barista roles to unemployed youth living in Toronto’s Neighborhood Improvement Areas. Over a 12-month period, Starbucks is helping tackle the issue of youth unemployment in Toronto by filling over 150 barista roles and work placement training opportunities with candidates from the City's Partnership to Advance Youth Employment program.
Earlier this year, the Starbucks Foundation also announced $1.5 million in Opportunity for Youth grants to 72 nonprofit organizations in 15 U.S. cities for fiscal year 2016. These grants, ranging from $5,000 to $75,000, build on the foundation’s long history of investing in programs that equip young people ages 16-24 with the skills and training required for the changing global economy.