BUSINESS

Wal-Mart, other companies join Starbucks drive to hire young workers

Starbucks Corp. is leading more than a dozen companies in an effort to hire 100,000 young workers with “systemic barriers to jobs and education” in the next three years.

The coffee giant said Monday the coalition of employers includes Alaska Air Group Inc., CVS Health Corp., Lyft Inc., Macy’s Inc., Microsoft Corp., Target Corp. and Wal-Mart Stores Inc.

The group has pledged to bring on more 16- to 24-year-olds as apprentices, interns and employees by 2018 — the continuation of a promise by Starbucks Chief Executive Howard Schultz in March to hire more from the demographic. 

In the U.S., a disconnect exists between 3.5 million unfilled jobs — many of them so-called middle-skill positions that don’t require a four-year degree — and 5.6 million young people who are neither in school nor working, according to Starbucks. 

Members of that untapped labor force don’t know which jobs are available or how to find them; employers struggle to recruit and train such workers, according to Starbucks. 

Companies participating in the hiring initiative will be at an Aug. 13 job fair in Chicago, where they expect to make at least 200 on-the-spot job offers and eventually hire more than 1,000 people in the area over the next 18 months. 

Starbucks closed its fiscal year in September with 141,000 employees in the U.S., with 133,000 of them in company-operated stores. In April, the company expanded a program that paid the way for its baristas to earn a bachelor's degree online from Arizona State University. 

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