Starbucks Expands Youth Job Training Initiative to Phoenix

A Starbucks in Phoenix is one of only three locations in the U.S. with an in-store training center.

The class space, opening today (August 18) at the Starbucks at 7th Avenue and Camelback Road, is a part of the company’s effort to support job training and social change in at least 15 diverse, low- to medium-income communities in the country. Other stores with dedicated training spaces are in Queens, New York, and Ferguson, Missouri.

The Phoenix location was chosen because an estimated 1 out of 5 people between the ages of 16 and 24 aren’t working and aren’t in school in the city and surrounding Maricopa County. That’s higher than the national average of 1 in 7 disconnected young people, often referred to as Opportunity Youth.

“The first job that a young person lands is often the most important because it sets a pace for self-sufficiency and responsibility,” said Mayor Greg Stanton. “The launch of Starbucks new initiative at this store is the culmination of months and months of collaborative efforts to find new ways to serve Opportunity Youth in Phoenix. In the same store where we started important town hall conversations about getting our youth back in the classroom or career-ready, we will now train young people for jobs and put them on track for success. Our partnerships and hard work have come full circle.”

“The City’s collaboration with Starbucks has brought attention to and helped address the critical issue of providing career pathways for Opportunity Youth,” said Phoenix City Councilwoman Laura Pastor. “Promoting and delivering high-quality educational and training programs that lead directly to good-paying jobs is essential to reversing the trend of low workforce and academic participation in communities of need. While we still have a long way to go, this partnership and our work so far demonstrates the value and potential of such efforts, and I’m glad to be a part of it.”

In addition to serving as a hub for the community, the Starbucks store will work with Arizona Call-a-Youth Resources (ACYR), a nonprofit youth workforce development program, to provide training opportunities for small classes of young adults.

This effort is part of Starbucks ongoing commitment to creating pathways to opportunity for young people in Phoenix, which includes: the 100,000 Opportunities Initiative hiring fair last fall that helped 1,700 young people connect with jobs and resources needed to improve their lives; a revolutionary partnership with Arizona State University to establish the Starbucks College Achievement Plan, with 6,000 partners (employees) now completing their college degrees with full tuition reimbursement; and two Military Family stores (near Luke Air Force Base and Davis-Monthan Air Force Base) employing many baristas and managers who are veterans and military spouses.

Meet the Partners of Starbucks 7th Avenue and Camelback Road

Martin Amador, 40, store manager

One of the most interesting days for me, in my five years with Starbucks so far, was when a general from Luke Air Force Base visited our store and told me something I’ll never forget. Partners were crazy busy, but they still found a way to connect with everybody who came in or was in the drive thru. He looked at me and commented that we all worked together as a team and said, “If I were to hire some people, this is the one place I’d take them from.” That meant a lot to me because my priority as a manager is to build trust with my partners and create an effective team. I try to extend that philosophy past the store too as we build relationships with Phoenix fire and police departments and nonprofits. I came from the Starbucks Military Family Store and I see the value in supporting a community. I love that Starbucks opens doors for those in the community and for its own partners. I plan to be with the company for a long time.

Favorite Starbucks beverage: Iced Caramel Macchiato with whole milk

Matthew, 24, shift supervisor

I started working with Starbucks about a year and a half ago when I was looking for a part-time job while going to college. Two months later, I realized this wasn’t just a temporary job for me. This was the bigger and brighter career I was looking for. About three months into the job, I became a shift supervisor and I haven’t looked back because this is the first truly fulfilling job I’ve had. It feels good to work with people who are like family and Starbucks is absolutely a lifetime career for me. I was born and raised in Phoenix and I know the job market here can be tough for a lot of people, so it means a lot to me that Starbucks is concerned about helping those who need a stepping stone to a better future.

Caramel Macchiato, stirred

Matty, 23, shift supervisor

Even before I became a partner five years ago, I really liked Starbucks as a company and loved the coffee. Any time I went there I’d make a connection with the barista. That’s how it is for me now, only it’s making that connection from a different perspective. It’s an honor to be a part of a store that will support the community in a special way. There’s an eclectic mix of people who come here – from business people to transients who come off the light rail and a large number of homeless people. We can look around and say there’s a problem and someone needs to fix it, or we can be a part of the solution. I’m proud that Starbucks is doing something that will benefit the community with the training center in our store. Starbucks has provided opportunities for me to develop and grow, and it’s equally important to offer opportunities to people in the community who might be looking for their first job.

Black Iced Coffee, sometimes with a dash of cinnamon

Anthony, 23, shift supervisor

I can relate to some of the people Starbucks is trying to help because my path hasn’t been easy either. I was kicked out of my house at the age of 18 and have been in and out of shelters. But I was determined to keep going and be the one in my family who graduates from high school and be the one who makes it. I appreciate that Starbucks is doing more in the community to make sure that anyone who wants to contribute gets that opportunity. Sometimes all it takes is someone who gives you a break. I know that’ll make a difference for someone and hopefully a lot of people.

Triple Espresso with caramel

Ana, 20, barista

At the end of October last year I went to a job fair and wanted to interview with Starbucks. I had heard about the benefits the company offers and it has a good reputation for taking care of its baristas and communities. Now I see first-hand that the impression I had of the company is true. I’ve been with Starbucks for seven months. I also wanted to be with a company that would challenge me. I’m an introverted person, and being with Starbucks has definitely helped me learn to interact with others. I’m now in the process of applying for the Starbucks College Achievement Plan and ultimately I’d like to become a nurse.

Green Tea, with orange slices or blackberries

Lesly, 18, barista

When I was little, I remember going to Starbucks with my sister and watching the baristas make drinks. I would always say to myself, “That’s the perfect job for me.” My sister (Magali Salgado) would say the same thing, and now here we are and we both work for Starbucks. She’s a shift supervisor in Mesa and I’ve been a barista since the end of last September. I was very shy when I first started here, but over time I’ve felt more comfortable interacting with people and I see myself growing a career here. I know it’s tough for a lot of people my age to get their first break in a job. I’m grateful to my high school counselor, who knew the manager here and helped me get a job. I know it’s tough to get a start without a resume and experience. It’s great that Starbucks is going to help teens in the community in that way. (Lesly went to ACYR, an alternative high school and youth workforce development program in Phoenix that is Starbucks training partner in the newly opened training space.)

Teavana Shaken Berry Sangria Herbal Tea

Jacob, 18, barista

A flexible schedule was important to me when I was looking for a job because I’m planning on going to Phoenix College to study nursing. I started with Starbucks last June and really like the environment here and getting to know customers, which is a very personal relationship. My dad always told me when you get a job you might not always like the people you work with, but that’s not true here. My co-workers are the best and we’re all best friends at work. There’s a lot of stress in life, but coming to work is never stressful because I like the people I’m working with and we all get along as a team.

Iced Chai Tea Latte with soy milk

Selena, 20, barista

For the longest time I wanted to be a makeup artist, but my goals have changed since I started with Starbucks. I’ve been here since February and worked at a licensed store last summer. I’ve grown to love the connection we have with customers and the relationships we have with each other. We’re a family. If someone’s upset, we do what we can to make that person laugh. If someone has a big event in their life, we celebrate with them and we support one another. Now my career goals all involve Starbucks. In a few weeks I’ll become a barista trainer. That’s the first step. I want to continue moving up and become a regional director one day. This is a positive company that’s a part of communities. This is where I want to be.

Trenta Black Tea Lemonade, six pumps of classic syrup, with sangria, a scoop of strawberries and light ice

Prisma, 20, barista

Last fall someone in my church told me about the job fair (Opportunity Fair and Forum) and that companies were hiring on the spot. I wasn’t thinking about Starbucks when I walked in, but the people there were so nice and after the interview I found out I got the job. I’ve been with Starbucks for nine months and this is the best job I’ve ever had. It was difficult at first because there’s so much to learn, but people in my store took me under their wing and helped me step by step. My goal now is to become a shift supervisor and eventually go to ASU through the Starbucks College Achievement Plan and study teaching. I want to become a preschool teacher. Growing up, my parents were always busy working so I spent a lot of time at community centers. Now it’s exciting to know I’m in a store where we’ll be giving back to the community.

Cool Lime Refresher with lemonade

Riyahna, 25, barista

There are some parts of Phoenix that remind me of LA, where I’m from. When I see people on the streets who are homeless that takes me back to the way I grew up – on the streets. So what Starbucks is doing to help people is something I take personally. My mother was an addict and I was homeless. I found Starbucks five years ago when a friend suggested I get a job there. Since then, I’ve worked at three different Starbucks locations and with each experience partners have embraced me with open arms. That’s something I’m not used to. Starbucks has become my family and my future. I have an opportunity to go to school (ASU for business) and with Bean Stock there’s a possibility I’ll be able to send my 5-year-old daughter to college one day. I’m in development now to be a shift supervisor. I’m so close I can feel it, and I plan to go further to have my own store and beyond.

Earl Gray Tea latte, the first beverage I ever had at Starbucks

Tristan, 20, barista

I’m the kid who had a subscription to The Economist at the age of 15 and read The Wall Street Journal, so financial planning is in my future. I’ll be going to UC San Diego in the spring. In the meantime, I’ve only been with Starbucks for a few weeks, but already I can say this is the best job I’ve ever had because of the people I work with. They’re like family; we’re a close group. I’ve also learned how we try to instill that same feeling within the community with the people who come here. It’ll be good to have a training center in our store because we have a lot of people who come in who obviously have some challenges in life, and I’m sure you see that in Starbucks stores everywhere in America. It’s right in front of us and I’m glad we’re trying to give people a better foundation through resume and job-training advice.

Carmel Waffle Cone Frappuccino, often with a little matcha and peppermint added

Juan, 29, shift supervisor

My love for coffee and passion to help people brought me to Starbucks five years ago in October. I’m very patient, understanding and a good listener. Sometimes you need all of that to help a customer. One of the things that I really like about Starbucks is meeting different people every day – always a different day. I plan to build a career here and move up with the company. I also think that Starbucks is extremely amazing. I was born and raised in Phoenix. Giving the community a resource to help young people get connected with jobs and other skills to get them ready for the future isn’t something most companies would take on. It’s good that Starbucks is in a community that definitely needs it.

Iced Coffee with vanilla

Pablo, 17, barista

I went to a job fair (Opportunity Fair and Forum) last fall hoping someone would offer me a job. I was interested in Starbucks because I knew they offered to pay for college through ASU and had other good benefits. They helped me with my resume; I got the job and have been with Starbucks since November. Before, I really liked the environment of Starbucks going there as a customer. Everyone was nice and friendly, and a part of the community. I wanted to have that kind of feeling and connection with people. Now that I’m a part of it, I see that the connection is real. Regular customers actually helped me sign up for classes at Phoenix College. On my breaks they’d give me advice while I was trying to pick classes. After I finish two years at Phoenix College, I’d like to transfer to the ASU program studying computers.

Strawberry Acai with lemonade

Taylor, 20, barista

I’ve been with Starbucks for over seven months and it’s the perfect part-time job while I go to school to study psychology. I enjoy meeting customers from all backgrounds and ages with different things going on. You can tell some of the people who come in haven’t had the greatest opportunities in their lives or chances to advance in the workforce. This store can be a part of the solution through job training and other kinds of classes for those individuals. I hope it brings people closer together in the community. And I love how close we are as a team. Not only do we care about customers, but we care about each other.

Caramel Macchiato

Jacque, 62, barista

My journey started when I sold a Hallmark store that I owned and my friends asked me, "What are you going to do now?" I told them, "I'm going to Starbucks because I believe in everything they stand for." That was 10 years ago and I'm still here and I love everything about the company. I plan to continue to be a part of the Starbucks community for as long as I can still be relevant. I'm very lucky that I get to work with young people because I get to see the world from their eyes, with what they're engaged in and interested in.

Green Tea Latte blended with a banana