Taking Action To Tackle Youth Unemployment Rates

Starbucks Canada announced today that, in partnership with the Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation, it is taking real action to tackle critical youth unemployment rates. As one of the country’s leading employers for young people, the company is taking a leadership position by committing 10 per cent of its store hires to Opportunity Youth, who are young people ages 16-24 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.

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 (14.1 per cent) is more than double the province’s adult average (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.

“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.” says Caroline Ternes, regional vice president, West/Central Region, 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.”

“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 are 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, 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.

The Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation provides British Columbians in need with a system of supports that can help them participate more fully in their communities and achieve their social and economic potential. In 2015/16, the Ministry will invest $331 million in the Employment Program of BC, offering employment and labour market programs for all residents, including people who experience barriers to employment.

As part of the Employment Program of BC, WorkBC helps British Columbians find jobs, explore career options and improve their skills. Approximately 50,000 youth have received case managed services from WorkBC since April 2012. Learn more about WorkBC at www.workbc.ca.

About Pacific Community Resources Society (PCRS) is an award winning, accredited non-profit community agency providing a range of services, including employment services, education programs, housing, and addiction counselling and prevention programs for youth, adults and families from a variety of backgrounds and orientations.

Over the last 13 years, Starbucks, in partnership with Pacific Community Resources Society (PCRS) in Surrey B.C., has been investing in creating opportunities for some of the province’s non-job-ready through the work placement program. The program was expanded to include Vancouver in 2014. To share in the experience, please visit us in our stores or online at www.starbucks.ca and the Starbucks Newsroom at www.news.starbucks.com.

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