Blair Taylor, chief community officer for Starbucks, says the company will open a store in Baltimore that will offer training to young people. (Courtesy photo)

Starbucks executive Blair Taylor promised to aid in the recovery of Baltimore by hiring young people most in need of employment. Starbucks will do so through the 100,000 Opportunities Initiative, a nationwide coalition of companies that aims to hire 100,000 young people between the ages of 16-24 who are not employed and not in school by 2018.

Taylor, chief community officer for Starbucks, made his remarks at the Aspen Institute’s Income Inequality Summit in Washington, D.C. in Nov.

Starbucks will open more stores in Baltimore as part of its new initiative to develop 15 stores in  diverse under-represented communities across the U.S.

“We haven’t found a location in Baltimore yet. But we ‘ve made a commitment to open urban stores in locations across America that will establish  jobs, access to Starbucks products and locally sourced supplies .  Each of these stores will have 400 feet of training space to provide the soft skills and other employment skills that urban youth need. We very much want to bring one of those stores to Baltimore,” Taylor said.

The news was welcomed by local leaders who have been active in Baltimore’s recovery including  BCCC President and CEO Gordon F. May and Michael Cryor, Chair of the City’s One Baltimore Committee.

“Our students and the community we serve, which was severely impacted by last spring’s uprising, would benefit greatly by having the opportunity to care for their families, while gaining practical business knowledge and entrepreneurship skills from Starbucks,” said May. “Starbucks will make an excellent partner in proactively helping to heal the West Baltimore community, particularly the Sandtown-Winchester neighborhood, which is just a few miles from the College.”

Starbucks originally announced plans to open the 15 stores in under-represented neighborhoods in July, to reach its goal of hiring 10,000 youth in the 100,000 Opportunities Initiative led by Starbucks CEO Howard Shultz and other leading US-based companies including CVS Health, Hilton Worldwide, JC Penney, Walgreens, Target, Walmart , Macy’s and others.   Each company is sponsoring its own initiative to train and hire youth to reach the goal of employing 100,000 by 2018.

Starbucks plans to develop the 15 stores in low to medium income urban communities across the US with the goal of opening at least 5 stores in 2016.  Communities selected for the project include Englewood in Chicago’s South Side, the Florissant neighborhood of Ferguson Missouri, Jamaica Queens, NY, Milwaukee Wisconsin and the Camelback neighborhood of Phoenix Arizona.

Starbucks seeks to hire 20-25 youth per store. The company will work with local government, civic and non-profit groups to develop the project to ensure the Baltimore store leverages local institutions that can provide support for continued development of the youth and involvement and dialogue with the community.