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Companies Including Starbucks And Microsoft Will Take Part In Youth Hiring Fair In Seattle

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100,000 Opportunities Initiative
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A young man at the first 100,000 Opportunities Initiative hiring fair last year in Chicago

If you’re between the ages of 16 and 24 and looking for a job, head to Seattle’s Centurylink Field on Thursday to meet with hiring managers from companies including Microsoft, T-Mobile and Starbucks.

A coalition of 40 companies has put together this job fair and Seattle is the fourth city where it’s taking place. Since last year, Chicago, Los Angeles and Phoenix have already held big hiring fairs for young people.

Starbucks Chief Executive Howard Schultz and his wife Sheri helped start the 100,000 Opportunities Initiative through their foundation in conjunction with the Aspen Institute's Forum for Community Solutions, according to Vivek Varma, executive vice president for public affairs at Starbucks.

"The problem is really a daunting problem, with 5.5 million young Americans out of school and out of work," Varma said. "This is going to require a new level of engagement from government, from the philanthropic community, from companies and from community-based organizations."

Other local companies participating include Nordstrom and Alaska Airlines. Varma said he's witnessed young people get job offers on the spot at prior hiring fairs. 

"You can’t help but feel the emotion when you see these young people, the enthusiasm they have, the resiliency in many cases and the creativity – all they really want is a start," Varma said.

Varma said about 1,000 young people have already registered and he expects as many as 1,500 to show up. In addition to job interviews, young people will be able to get one-on-one resume coaching and advice about applying to schools. 

In July 2017, Ashley Gross became KNKX's youth and education reporter after years of covering the business and labor beat. She joined the station in May 2012 and previously worked five years at WBEZ in Chicago, where she reported on business and the economy. Her work telling the human side of the mortgage crisis garnered awards from the Illinois Associated Press and the Chicago Headline Club. She's also reported for the Alaska Public Radio Network in Anchorage and for Bloomberg News in San Francisco.