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Starbucks Canada targets youth unemployment with program to hire at-risk young people

Starbucks barista Oscar Flores, working at the company's Toronto 175 Bloor Street West location, is part of Starbuck's Opportunity Youth Program, Wednesday November 11, 2015.

TORONTO — Starbucks Canada is expanding a program to address “a crisis” in youth unemployment by committing to hire 10 per cent of its work force from among the country’s disadvantaged young people.

The Opportunity Youth program was launched as a pilot in Toronto in April. Starbucks will expand the program, starting in Montreal and Vancouver, and eventually reaching across Canada, employing 3,500 people between the ages of 16 and 24, who are not working, in school or in a training program.

“There’s a crisis on youth unemployment and there’s a crisis on the hope that you can achieve, that you can get started,” Luisa Girotto, Starbucks Canada’s vice-president of public affairs, said.  “It’s not enough to say we’ll hire five, we’ll hire ten. It’s not about making a little dent.”

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