Hundreds of young people received job offers from 25 businesses represented at the 100,000 Opportunities Initiative hiring fair, October 30th in Phoenix, AZ.
Meet a few of the people who will soon be wearing a green apron after Starbucks offered them jobs at the event.
“I came here looking for a second job to help support my family. I have four younger siblings and my dad just got laid off from his job,” said Angel, a junior in high school. “It takes a lot of work and self-motivation to get everything done, but I’m doing it. I’m excited about achieving my goals and dreams and becoming the person I want to be.”
“Starbucks will be my first job and it’s a really good opportunity for me. I’m going to work hard and make the most of it,” Elizabeth said. “I want to help my family financially too. It’s hard for my parents to pay bills.”
Sarah Ringle and Angelina Visarra
Friends Sarah and Angelina high-fived each other as they both received job offers from Starbucks at the same time. Sarah had been trying to find a job for several weeks, but found most people weren’t helpful. Today was a different story as supportive, smiling people walked her through the process of applying and interviewing with Starbucks. “I feel like it’s really hard to get a job if you’re a student. It can be very frustrating, but now I’m happy,” Sarah said. “It’s 10 times harder for fresh out of high school kids in such a competitive environment,” Angelina added. “Not everyone is willing to help people who actually need these jobs.”
“I’ve been looking for a job for a while and it has not been going well because I don’t have any experience,” Elana said. Ultimately, she wants to be a graphic designer and hopes to pursue an education after high school through the Starbucks College Achievement Plan.
“My mom is a single mom, so I’m hoping I can help her by contributing a little income,” said Tysha’a. “I should be getting an email Monday and begin working at Starbucks soon.”
'I was opportunity youth'
Business executives, politicans and nonprofit leaders share personal stories at the 100,000 Opportunities Press conference:
Howard Schultz, Starbucks chairman and ceo
We have a tragic situation in the country where we have approximately 6 million young people who are disconnected – not in school, not at work. If you read some of the reports, it will cost taxpayers about $100 billion a year, but the problem is bigger than that. As a country, have we lost our conscience? Have we lost our responsibility?
I believe that unfortunately we are living in a time when we have to ask ourselves is the American dream alive and well? I feel I can ask that question because I am a living product of the American dream. I grew up in public housing. My dad never made more than $20,000 a year, and I saw firsthand the fracturing of the American dream when I was a young kid.
I’m here because of the aspiration and ideals of what America has meant. I think the convening power of likeminded companies and institutions and elected officials coming together says, “Yes, the American dream is alive and well.” We owe these young kids a solemn promise to do everything we can to bring them along, to embrace diversity and inclusion, and to not let them fall behind.
Steve Churci,chairman of the Board of Supervisors, Maricopa County
My grandfather emigrated from Beirut. He couldn't read or write to the day he died, but he was the first licensed auto dealer in the state of Arizona. He learned to sign his name and that was it. He was homeless. I will tell you right now, there are kids who are walking and thinking there’s no future for them. But they have hope because of all these companies who have stepped up to do the right thing.
James Fripp, (above) Yum! Brands Sr. director of Global Diversity & Inclusion
Being at this event is critical for us in the restaurant business. These are our customers, these are our employees and these are the future leaders of our country. For me, quite honestly, I’m one of these kids. I’m one of eight in a military-enlisted family. Taco Bell gave me an opportunity at the age of 17 to become an employee, and all these years later I’m bouncing around the globe trying to give kids like I was an opportunity with us.
Matt Sesto, Walgreens regional vice president
For more than a century Walgreens has been hiring great youth throughout the United States, and like many of my peers, I started as a stock boy when I was getting into more trouble than my parents wanted to deal with. They sent me off and a couple places didn’t hire me, but lucky for me Walgreens did. Twenty-seven years later I’m still with Walgreens and have been given many opportunities along the way. Three-quarters of our managers and the majority of my peers have worked their way up. We’re happy to extend the opportunities to young people here today.
Paula Ginnett, Walmart regional general manager
As the nation’s largest private employer we are the “land of opportunity.” Our CEO started out as a youth in our warehouses and I started out as a teenager in high school as a cashier. I came to Walmart thinking this is a great college job for me, and 25 years later I’m still there because Walmart gives me a chance to be an entrepreneur within the company. We are proud to extend opportunities to the hundreds of young adults.
Kyrsten Sinema, (above) U.S. Congresswoman, Arizona 9th District
This is very personal for me. I was born and raised in Tuscon, Arizona and as a child I was homeless for a number of years. When I finished high school 23 years ago, I lived in an America where opportunity existed. I got a scholarship to college, I got a Pell Grant, and I got a job that helped pay for the rent and the Ramen I needed to make it through ASU.
I’m so grateful these business leaders have partnered with the most innovative university president in the world (Dr. Michael Crow), and with our great city and county, to make sure that opportunity exists for all the young people who are living in situations just liked I lived in when I finished high school. In what other country in the world can a member of Congress stand before you and say I was homeless when I was a kid, but I got my shot at college, I got a job and I’m standing before you today. You are creating that same opportunity for young people today.
Dr. Michael Crow, president of Arizona State University
We are here because there are a large number of youth between 16 and 24 have not yet found the pathway to opportunity. There are 5.5 million young people nationwide who are not working and are not in school. In Phoenix we have about 90,000 to 100,000 individuals who are in that category.
ASU is involved with the 100,000 Opportunities Initiative because we are a university of inclusion. We’re in this project because we are focused on everyone’s success. We’re in this project because it does require everyone – private sector, the big companies that are here, and family-owned businesses, as well as the public sector. With the Starbucks College Achievement Plan, we were able to take a modern corporation with its fantastic focus on partners (employees) and send young people to college who will graduate with no cost and no debt.
Greg Stanton, Phoenix mayor
We know the numbers in this community and across our state more than 180,000 young adults do not go to school or have a job. In our region, we have the highest rate of opportunity youth in the entire country.
If you’ve had a chance to talk with young people who are here today, you know that numbers don’t tell the entire story. Those young people are inspired and with just the right opportunity, just the right push and help, they can go on to do incredible things. They can go from being a statistic to being a teacher, a doctor, a nonprofit leader, or the CEO of the best corporations in America, like Starbucks. That’s why we call them “opportunity youth.” They represent an opportunity for us to strengthen our community and strengthen our economy.
Daniel Pitasky, Schultz Family Foundation executive director
Howard and Sherri Schultz take this work personally – helping young people find jobs, finish their education and gain the respect they deserve. Today 35 companies have come together to work with problem solvers in the public sector, private sector and nonprofits. We’re all seeking to find, hire and retain the young talent, and the work is just beginning. And as you meet young people today, I’m certain they will touch your heart. They have the same skills, needs and dreams as all of our kids, and their opportunity begins today.
First in Line, Ready to Make a Good Impression
Cody Downes, from Mesa, is the first in line at the Opportunity Fair. He plans to interview with Nordstrom, Target, Microsoft and Starbucks so he can afford to continue his college education.
“I’m going to be as friendly as possible and be myself,” he said. “I just know I need to get a job so I can ultimately become a sound engineer.”
More than 1,000 Young Adults Expected at Phoenix Opportunity Fair Today
Across the country, one in seven people under the age of 24 are not working and are not in school. In Phoenix and the surrounding Maricopa County, that rate is closer to one in five. Starbucks is one of 25 major companies are trying to change that.
The 100,000 Opportunities Initiative is leading a massive job fair at the Phoenix Convention Center. Among the companies hiring today: Alaska Airlines, Chipotle Mexican Grill, CVS Health, Domino’s Pizza, FedEx, Hilton, HMS Host, Hyatt, JC Penney, Lyft, Macys, Microsoft, Nordstrom, Papa John’s, Pizza Hut, Potbelly Sandwich Shop, Red Robin, Republic Services, Starbucks, Taco Bell, Target, Teavana, T-Mobile, Walgreens, and Walmart.
Follow the experience here - through frequent photo and story updates - as young job seekers receive mentoring, interviews and on-the-spot job offers. Also, company leaders will explain why they're involved with the 100,000 Opportunities Initiative and how employing opportunity youth improves their businesses and communities. And, we'll feature inspirational and interactive events throughout the day.
This is the second gathering of major companies for an Opportunity Fair and Forum. The first job fair in Chicago resulted in more than 800 job offers for young adults.
Additional photos for media available by clicking the green download button at the top of this story.