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Metro Atlanta Chamber


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May 2, 2018

100,000 Opportunities Initiative Closes the Gap for Youth and Employers in Atlanta


Metro Atlanta is the ninth largest metro area with nearly six million residents and three million in the workforce. Coupled with Georgia’s status as the #1 state for business, the opportunities in the metro region and the broader state present a unique value to youth. The 100,000 Opportunities Initiative, a coalition of America’s leading companies and foundations, joined forces with Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and local leaders and service providers to host the Atlanta Opportunity Fair on Thursday, May 3 at the Georgia World Congress Center.

The day-long job and resource fair seeks to target the region’s young people aged 16-24 who face systemic barriers to employment. Recruiters at the fair represent many of the U.S.’s top corporations from FedEx, Starbucks, Nordstrom, Walmart, Five Guys, HMSHost, Taco Bell, Arby’s and more.

Lauren Baksh, talent pipeline manager for Graphic Packaging International, will be participating in the job fair. Baksh spoke on the unique value proposition of the 100,000 Opportunities Initiative in Atlanta and the necessity of engaging youth in developing the workforce of tomorrow:

  • Q: How did you and your organization become involved with 100,000 Opportunities?
  • We learned about the 100K Opportunities Fair through the Metro Atlanta Chamber and were immediately interested in participating. Hourly recruiting is becoming increasingly difficult in the manufacturing sector, and we are always looking for new avenues to attract employees.  
  • Q: What is your desired outcome at the end of the job fair – both in terms of your organization and outcomes for the students who visit you?
  • We are hoping to provide opportunities to youth who are interested in learning and growing in manufacturing. The wage for our operator positions is very competitive, and we know that it can provide economic stability as well as an opportunity to obtain valuable skills through on-the-job training and access to tuition reimbursement for furthering education.
  • Q: What is unique about the 100K Opportunities Job Fair vs. similar models around the country?
  • This is our first time participating in a fair such as this one in terms of magnitude and function. Graphic Packaging International has over 60 locations throughout the U.S., and we are hoping to partner with 100K in other participating cities that are near our facilities.            

An estimated 4.6 million young Americans are not in school or at work, including 78,000 in the metro Atlanta area – accounting for 11 percent of the region’s youth. The Atlanta Opportunity Fair is expected to be the region’s largest ever job fair aimed at these youths.

“Atlanta is proud to be selected as a part of the 100,000 Opportunities Initiative. Building an ecosystem that generates and supports a rich talent pipeline is one of our top priorities. Our business community is eager to get involved and demonstrate how we’re producing a robust workforce through corporate engagement and community outreach,” said Metro Atlanta Chamber President and CEO Hala Moddelmog.

Registration for the Atlanta Opportunity Fair is open – to RSVP for the event, please click here

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