WASHINGTON, July 13 (UPI) -- Starbucks, Microsoft and Walmart are teaming up with 14 other companies to create an employment initiative to hire at least 100,000 young people who lack opportunities.
The "100,000 Opportunities Initiative" aims to hire 16-24-year-olds who are not employed, are not in school and "who face systemic barriers to jobs and education" -- otherwise known as "disconnected youth" -- by 2018 through both part-time and full-time jobs and through apprenticeships, internships and training programs.
There are about 5.6 million 16-24-year-olds in the United States and about 3.5 million middle-skill jobs, which do not require a four-year degree, currently unfilled.
The initiative was first started by Starbucks Chief Executive Howard Schultz, whose company employs more than 150,000 people in the United States where it operates more than 12,000 stores.
"As one of the world's leading youth employers with nearly 80 percent of its workforce being millennials, Starbucks has committed to hiring at least 10,000 Opportunity Youth in the U.S. over the next three years, many of whom will be eligible to participate in the company's full slate of benefits," Starbucks said in a statement.
The initiative has the "goal of being the nation's largest employer-led coalition committed to creating pathways to meaningful employment for America's young people."
The remaining companies part of the coalition are Alaska Airlines, Cintas, CVS Health, Hilton Worldwide, HMSHost, JCPenney, JPMorgan Chase, Lyft, Macy's, Porch.com, Potbelly Sandwich Shop, Taco Bell, Target and Walgreens.
"In America, your ZIP code should never determine your destiny. Breaking down barriers to employment for young people doesn't just help the individual workers -- it benefits entire communities and the economy at large," U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez said in a statement. "The corporate leaders championing the 100,000 Opportunities Initiative recognize that promoting career opportunities for youth is a win-win, and I hope more employers will follow their lead."