Starbucks partnering with Toronto in youth jobs program

Mayor John Tory announced a partnership with Starbucks Canada to put more young people in Toronto to work.

10 per cent of barista hires will be young people, coffee chain pledges

Mayor John Tory announced a partnership with Starbucks Canada to put more young people in Toronto to work.

Tory outlined a deal that will bolster the Partnership to Advance Youth Employment, or PAYE, in a local Starbucks. He announced a pledge from the U.S. coffee chain to hire more young people in Toronto — 10 per cent of its barista hires.

Tory said that translates to 150 job opportunities, at a minimum 20 hours per week, with full benefits. Starbucks Canada will also focus its hiring in Neighbourhood Improvement Areas, parts of the city that have been identified as priority areas for economic development.

But Tory said he would not stop there.

"This is good for business, good for youth, good for the economy," he said. "But it's not enough."

The mayor then announced what he called the Mayor's 10 Per Cent Challenge. He wants other businesses in the city to follow Starbucks Canada's lead and hire one young person for every 10 hires.

"I know employers have the muscle and the heart. I need them to step up to the plate and flex that muscle," he said. "I will personally show up at any place of employment and thank any employer [who takes the challenge]."

Tory made an election campaign promise to double the size of PAYE before 2016. To date, there are about 100 employers in the program. Tory said so far this year he has attracted 19 new employers, and has had 13 employers renew and/or expand their participation in the youth jobs program.

The youth unemployment rate in Toronto stands at about 20 per cent.

"It's unacceptable," said Tory of the high rate. "It's just plain bad."

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