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Starbucks focuses on youth

Wednesday November 18, 2015 Written by  Retain Canada
Starbucks Canada is partnering with British Columbia’s Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation to tackle critical youth unemployment rates.

As one of the country's leading employers for young people, Starbucks is taking a leadership position by committing 10 per cent of its store hires to “opportunity youth” – young people between the ages of 16 and 24 who are not working and are not going to school. The commitment supports motivated young people who have a strong desire to work, but face barriers to employment and require even more support in finding pathways to opportunity.

Working in partnership with the province's WorkBC Employment Services Centres, Starbucks will dedicate in excess of 330 jobs for opportunity youth in Vancouver over the next three years.

Five local WorkBC Employment Service Centres in Vancouver will provide employment services and support to help Starbucks recruit and hire youth who require additional support. WorkBC will also help participating youth with support such as transit tickets and work clothes that can help them maintain employment.

At the same time, Starbucks is continuing its long-term commitment to providing non-work-ready youth with the tools necessary to achieve gainful employment. The thriving Baristas Training Program, in partnership with Pacific Community Resources Society (PCRS), will create 300 opportunities in Surrey and Vancouver over three years, while also providing life skills and employability training. Combined, these programs will generate 630 jobs and work placements over the next three years.

"At Starbucks we believe that everyone who wants a job should have a job, and we're concerned over the number of youth who can't find work or the opportunities to be successful." said Caroline Ternes, regional vice-president, west/central region, with Starbucks Canada. "Every business has a role to play in creating opportunities to help Canadian youth succeed in today's economy and we are pleased to have developed ground-breaking partnerships that allow us to provide real solutions. By supporting these young people we will create real pathways to opportunity for them while driving our business forward and strengthening the communities we serve."

Youth unemployment is a national problem that business and government need to address in order to secure the social and economic wellbeing of Canada's future. In Vancouver, the youth unemployment rate sits at 14.1 per cent. That’s more than double the province's adult average unemployment rate of 6.3 per cent. Starbucks is committed to having a positive impact on this issue by providing meaningful employment opportunities with a focus on opportunity youth. These youth represent a vital and untapped resource of talent that have the potential to contribute to the success of business.

B.C. is reaching a tipping point with fewer young people entering the workforce than older people leaving it. This partnership between Starbucks and WorkBC Employment Service Centres supports the B.C. government's Skills for Jobs Blueprint to ensure more British Columbians have the skills they need to be first in line for in-demand B.C. jobs.

"This partnership between WorkBC centres and Starbucks will benefit hundreds of youth in the lower mainland and give them a launch pad to their next steps in life," said Michelle Stilwell, B.C.'s Minister of Social Development and Social Innovation.  "While B.C. currently has the lowest youth unemployment rate in Canada, there are still too many young people who face barriers to employment. The commitment and support from Starbucks and our WorkBC centres will open doors for more than 330 young people in Vancouver, giving them an opportunity to work at Starbucks, build their skills and find new opportunities.”

Beyond employment and work readiness, further opportunities will be created by providing part-time employees with "full-time" benefits. Partners (employees) who work a minimum of 20 hours a week receive medical and dental benefits, tuition reimbursements, stocks, and future savings along with career and personal support services. With 73 per cent of its store partners under the age of 24, Starbucks is committed to offering employment conditions that provide young people with the early support they need to be successful.

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