There are more young people here in Maricopa County who aren’t in school and aren’t working than just about anywhere else in the nation – and business leaders are trying to change that.
The 100,000 Opportunities Initiative is coming to Phoenix next week with a massive job fair at the Phoenix Convention Center that’s aiming to get thousands of young people in the Valley hired.
More than 20 major companies will be there looking to hire at the event, including Starbucks, Target, Nordstrom, Microsoft, Prudential, FedEx, Macy’s, Chipotle, Alaska Airlines and more.
There will be more than 1,000 job opportunities for young adults available at the event. It’s the start of a three-year partnership between the business leaders heading up the 100,000 Opportunities Initiative and the City of Phoenix, Maricopa County leaders, Arizona State University and the Maricopa Community Colleges.
Across the country, one in seven people under the age of 24 are ‘disengaged youth;’ they’re not working and they’re not in school.
But, in Maricopa County, that rate is closer to one in five.
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The unemployment rate for this age group here is 20 percent and only 55 percent are enrolled in school, according to a study by Measure of America. That’s the lowest of any of the major 25 metro areas in the country.
But, Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton said, even though the numbers are sobering, he is optimistic about our city’s ability to work to get youth here hired and back onto an educational track.
“Our city is seeing a small but powerful groundswell of civic, community and elected leaders that are working hard to give youth in Phoenix the type of meaningful job and educational opportunities they deserve,” he said in a statement. “The business leadership of the 100,000 Opportunities Initiative will help take our city’s efforts to even greater heights and bring more attention to the magnitude of this issue and its impact on the rest of the country.”
At the Phoenix event, on Friday, October 30, applicants can get one-on-one career advice, interview on the spot with employers, attend workshops on career skills like interviewing and resume-building, and hear from what are promised to be some amazing speakers. You might even be able to get your hair and makeup done before your interview, according to the initiative.
Starbucks CEO Howard Shultz and Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton will also be on hand to help offer mentoring and advice to anyone who attends.
The 100,000 Opportunities Initiative, led by Shultz and other business leaders, was launched earlier this summer with the goal of hiring at least 100,000 ‘opportunity youth’ by 2018.
They kicked off the initiative in Chicago last month with an even that drew over 4,000 young people and has gotten 800 of them job offers already.