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When Communities Face Unemployment, Starbucks Wants To Train And Inspire

Most people know them for their coffee, but that's not why we're celebrating Starbucks today. Because coffee is not what brought a young Kenyarah Williams to Starbucks' doors. What she wanted was a solid job, and that's what Starbucks offered her. Kenyarah had her first child at eighteen, and she quickly found herself working three jobs to support a growing family. When she started at Starbucks as a barista 9 years ago, her place of employment was outside of her neighborhood of Englewood in Chicago. Today, Kenyarah is thriving as a store manager at a shop in Englewood, and is helping to bring opportunities like the one she grabbed to other young people in her community.


In recent years, Starbucks has been developing partnerships with underserved neighborhoods across the country, where job training is rare and jobs hard to come by. Thanks to their community workforce development programs, which focus on areas with high unemployment, they're creating more jobs and training opportunities for people who need them most.

"When I first found out that they were opening a store in Englewood... That's when I decided that I wanted to be a store manager." - Kenyarah Williams, Starbucks Store Manager

In Kenyarah's neighborhood, the partnership between Starbucks and Teamwork Englewood has put more than 90 local young people between the ages of 16 and 24 through their in-store job skills training program. Participants learn about customer service and barista skills—and they also get feedback on their resumes and advice about how to dress for a job interview. By creating opportunities for young people to pursue fulfilling careers like Kenyarah did, this workforce development partnership is helping grow the community and broaden young Chicagoans' horizons.

Starbucks and the Starbucks Foundation are now offering opportunities for young people in communities across the U.S. They've opened Community Stores that partner with local nonprofit organizations to create new opportunities for young people and provide them with the skills and the training they need to succeed in places such as Ferguson, Missouri; Jamaica, Queens in New York; Baltimore, Maryland; Englewood, Chicago; Miami, Florida; Seattle, Washington; and Long Beach, California.

"We plan to open more and we're going to continue to grow this effort in underserved communities." - Akeisha Walker, Starbucks District Manager

For more information on Starbucks and Starbucks Foundation's programs, visit https://www.starbucks.com/responsibility/community.

This HooplaHa original video was produced by Lucia Nazzaro, shot by Wesley Nott, and edited by Kellie Sieban. To see more inspiring news, follow us on Facebook and sign up for our Only Good News Newsletter.

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