The 100,000 Opportunities Initiative

The 100,000 Opportunities Initiative July 14, 2015

As reported by Tuesday’s Chicago Tribune:

Chicago will be the kickoff site for the 100,000 Opportunities Initiative, a new coalition of big businesses hoping to provide jobs or training for disadvantaged 16- to 24-year-olds.

The initiative, which includes companies like Starbucks, CVS and Wal-Mart, comes as teens continue to be displaced from entry-level jobs by older workers and college graduates, despite the rebound in the nation’s job market. . . .

The coalition’s goal is to provide apprenticeships, internships, training, and part- and full-time jobs for at least 100,000 youths and young adults nationally by 2018. It’s targeting those who “face systemic barriers to jobs and education,” according to its announcement.

During the next 18 months, the initiative expects to hire at least 1,000 youths and young adults in the Chicago area alone.

The website for the initiate is here.

Interestingly, Megan McArdle has a piece today about speeches by Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton which announce they’ll increase economic growth by getting more people into the labor force:  for Jeb, labor force dropouts; for Hillary, stay-at-home mothers.  In both cases, McArdle says, they’re putting the cart before the horse:  the jobs have to exist before people can fill them.

And here, too:  yes, it’s important to provide job training to young people who lack it, and for employers to give them a chance, but where are these 100,000 jobs supposed to come from?

Is the training meant to make these teens and young adults attractive workers, newly able to win the job over the over-educated college grads and the no-longer-as-nimble older workers (who should go back to being happy with their Social Security checks)?

Are these employers planning on hiring 2 people to work at a more relaxed pace, where only 1 efficient worker is needed, forgoing some profits to further a greater social goal?  Or, heck, perhaps 5 workers instead of 4, and slowing down a prior speed-up, or removing some self-checkout lanes, or adding back baggers?

Is there a genuine assumption that the job market will open up and college grads will go back to higher-level work?

Or is this all feel-good, and good for the corporate PR?

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