Companies and organizations such as Walmart, Starbucks, FedEx, Nordstrom, Five Guys and others offered walk-up interviews to metro youth, including resume workshops, counseling and more. The Arby’s Foundation was among the representation of regional nonprofits with a booth at the job fair.
Emily Crawford, director of impact and communications for The Arby’s Foundation, spoke on the inherent value to bringing the resources for success to high school students.
“Arby’s Foundation is committed to bringing opportunities to youth that result in meaningful employment,” Crawford said. “Even if the youth did not leave the fair with a job offer, they left improved through the wealth of resources available to them through the fair.”
Crawford said that the Arby’s Foundation booth was visited by 68 applicants over the course of the day – 41 individuals walked away with conditional offers. 100,000 Opportunities was the first time the foundation has participated in a job fair in the region, hiring for restaurant and general manager positions.
Reducing the barrier to entry for people aged 16-24 in finding employment and career resources was one goal established by 100,000 Opportunities. Systemic hurdles to access experienced by many of these youths can be the difference in one student receiving an opportunity over another.
“In our time at the fair, there was a real sense of commitment from everyone there to hire these kids. Some of them just need one shot to succeed,” Crawford said.
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. Coupled with Georgia’s status as the #1 state for business, a smooth pipeline from education to workforce is essential.
“Our booth was visited by this 15-year-old kid who just loves Arby’s. He was too young to work for us. He turns 16 in two weeks, so we offered him a position in the next month – his passion was there,” Crawford said. “It’s important that kids like him don’t just receive offers. We want them to get the opportunities that will set them up for success.”
The 100,000 Opportunities Initiative is a coalition of employers focused on hiring opportunity youth. The initiative works to close the employment gap and connect youth to apprenticeships, internships and part-time and full-time jobs. For more information on the Atlanta branch of 100,000 Opportunities or information on how to get involved, visit: https://www.100kopportunities.org/our-communities/atlanta/.