Starbucks Canada Takes Bold Steps in Vancouver to Tackle Youth Unemployment

Company commits 10 per cent of all store new hires to Opportunity Youth in Vancouver

VANCOUVER, Nov. 10, 2015 /CNW/ - 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.

About Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation
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.

About WorkBC
As part of the Employment Program of BC, WorkBC helps British Columbians find jobs, explore career options and improve their skills. It also helps employers fill jobs, find the right talent and grow their businesses. The 84 WorkBC Employment Services Centres across B.C. can help youth aged 16 to 30, who are no longer in school, find a job, access training, or pursue self-employment. Youth can participate in workshops to help them prepare for and find employment, covering subjects such as career exploration, resume writing and interview preparation.  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)
Pacific Community Resources 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.

About the Starbucks Barista Work Placement Program
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. This program couples in-class life and employability skills training with in-store Barista work experience, in order to provide the skills and work experience these youth need to become gainfully employed. Since its inception, the program has successfully graduated more than 500 youth, with a current annual commitment of 100 work placements between Surrey and Vancouver. The goal of the program is for graduates to either secure employment (with Starbucks or others) or go back to school within 12 weeks of graduating.

About Starbucks
Since 1971, Starbucks Coffee Company has been committed to ethically sourcing and roasting high-quality arabica coffee. Today, with stores around the globe, the company is the premier roaster and retailer of specialty coffee in the world. Through our unwavering commitment to excellence and our guiding principles, we bring the unique Starbucks Experience to life for every customer through every cup. 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.

SOURCE Starbucks Coffee Canada

Image with caption: "Starbucks in partnership with the Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation, announced today that 10% of all store new hires in Vancouver will be dedicated to Opportunity Youth. L-R Kristin Duncan, Fiona Kehler who are both graduates of the Starbucks Work Placement Program, The Honourable Michelle Stilwell, Minister of Social Development and Social Innovation along with Caroline Ternes, regional vice president, West/Central Region, Starbucks Canada. (CNW Group/Starbucks Coffee Canada)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20151110_C7066_PHOTO_EN_541914.jpg

For further information: or Interview Requests Please Contact: Sean Leslie, Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation, 250-356-1670; Madeleine Löwenborg-Frick, Senior Manager, Communications, Starbucks Canada, mlowenbo@starbucks.com

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