Taking on Income Inequality and Diversity: Starbucks Leads the Way

Jul 16, 2015 4:00 PM ET

Taking On Income Inequality and Diversity: Starbucks Leads the Way

What do you do for second act if you’re a chairman and CEO who has built from scratch a company that grosses $16 billion annually, has 190,000 employees worldwide, and is the brand leader in its field? If you’re Howard Schulz, chairman and CEO of Starbucks, you return to your roots to give back.

Schulz, who grew up in public housing in Brooklyn’s diverse Canarsie neighborhood, has committed Starbucks to an initiative to increase the hiring of young, minority workers over the next three years. Mostly low-income, 16 to 24-year olds will be hired as apprentices, interns, and part- and full-time employees. And Schultz has brought company to the project, organizing a consortium of businesses to achieve a collective goal of taking on 100,000 such employees among them by 2018.

The “100,000 Opportunities Initiative” will operate through job fairs to be held throughout the country, starting in August in Chicago. Companies signed up to participate include CVS Health, J.P. Morgan Chase, Hilton Worldwide, Microsoft, Target, Wal-Mart, Alaska Air, Lyft, J.C. Penney, Macy’s, Walgreens Boots Alliance, Cintas, HMSHost, Porch.com, Potbelly, and Yum Brands. It’s a case study for how business can lead in social policy.

I’m John Howell for 3BL Media.

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