Pizza Hut Joins Effort to Offer ‘100,000 Opportunities’ to Youths

Pizza Hut Joins Effort to Offer ‘100,000 Opportunities’ to Youths

Dallas — A coalition of businesses that has pledged to increase training and hiring for “opportunity youth” is nearly doubling in size and now includes Pizza Hut. The “100,000 Opportunities Initiative,” initially announced last month by Starbucks, now calls for 29 companies to help at least 100,000 young people ages 16 to 24 by 2018. The program will offer youths who face “systemic barriers to jobs and education” apprenticeships, internships, training programs, and part-time and full-time jobs.

Of the current crop of 29 companies, up from the initial 17, nine are in food service, including Pizza Hut rival Domino’s and market standout Chipotle. There are more food service companies represented in the coalition than any other industry. Retail is the second-largest group, with eight companies, including J.C. Penney, Wal-Mart and Target.

Food service and retail companies have taken public relations hits for offering low wages and unpredictable schedules to some workers. Both industries have lower-than-average ratings based on input from employees and job seekers on the jobs website

So the coalition initiative offers both industries an opportunity to put on a better face to potential recruits.

“People absolutely want to work where there is diversity in hiring and where the employer is proactive about giving opportunities to people in the form of on-the-job training,” said Scott Dobroski, a career trends analyst with “Those are two really big themes. I’m sure these (coalition) employers know that.”

Pizza Hut, based in suburban Dallas, sees its participation in the program as an extension of the company’s “long-standing commitment to the betterment of young people through education and opportunity.”

“Pizza Hut is dedicated to helping people unlock life’s potential,” David Gibbs, the company’s chief executive, said in a statement. “(W)e felt it was our responsibility, and privilege, to join the 100,000 Opportunities Initiative to help provide young people with the tools and know-how to get job-ready.”

Pizza Hut, one of 12 companies added to the program last week, has committed to help 300 youths in the Chicago metro area, site of the first Opportunity Fair & Forum. That event, set for Thursday, will bring together young people, corporate recruiters and inspirational speakers including rapper, actor and Chicago native Common (aka Lonnie Rashid Lynn Jr.).

Pizza Hut will offer the youths part-time and full-time jobs and internships. Pizza Hut expects to hire thousands as the program expands to more cities, a company spokesman said. tracks how companies and industries rate with employees and job seekers. The average rating for all industries is 3.2 out of 5 points.

“Both the restaurant and retail industries tend to hover around 2.9 (or) 3.0,” Dobroski said.

Penney, which has stabilized after a failed attempt to reinvent itself led to layoffs, rates 3.1 nationally and with local workers, Dobroski said. Pizza Hut, the nation’s largest pizza chain, rates 3.0 nationally and 3.4 locally, he said.

Author: Karen Robinson-Jacobs The Dallas Morning News

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