Employment and Jobs

McDonald’s Sets Global Goal to Reduce Barriers to Employment for Two Million Youth

August 22, 2018  • UpSkill America

UpSkill America is an employer-led movement to expand opportunity for America’s workers and allow our economy and communities to thrive. As part of our mission to advance the upskilling movement, we are pleased to share the following news featuring one of our partners.

Today McDonald’s announced a new initiative called Youth Opportunity, with a global goal to reduce barriers to employment for two million young people by 2025 through pre-employment job readiness training, employment opportunities and workplace development programs. To kick off this initiative, the company will distribute $1 million in grants to local community organizations in Chicago to deliver job readiness training for young people who have less access to opportunities. McDonald’s will distribute a further $1 million in grant money to Skills for Chicagoland’s Future to develop a new apprenticeship program with City Colleges of Chicago.

In partnership with local community organizations and the International Youth Foundation (IYF), McDonald’s will offer a new pre-employment work-readiness and soft skills training program, designed to help young people develop the competencies employers are looking for in entry-level employees. McDonald’s is piloting this initiative in Chicago, with the goal of reducing barriers to employment for 4,000 young people in the city, before rolling it out to select cities in the U.S. from 2019.

McDonald’s is bringing together four trusted community organizations – After School Matters, Skills for Chicagoland’s Future, Phalanx Family Services and Central States SER – who will pair relevant skills training programs with a specialized version of IYF’s Passport to Success curriculum, developed in partnership with McDonald’s. Participants will learn valuable soft skills such as self-awareness and management, communication skills, problem solving and conflict management. In addition to being considered for job opportunities at company-owned and franchisee restaurants, graduates from the training will have the chance to pursue opportunities with potential employers across a variety of industries like healthcare, supply chain logistics and IT.

Through the Youth Opportunity initiative, the company and participating franchisees want to attract a diverse pool of talent to their restaurants. They will continue to provide job opportunities that young people need to kick-start their career and to develop critical soft skills, such as teamwork, hospitality and decision making. Employees can also go on to access development programs, including Hamburger University, which has prepared more than 360,000 students for leadership positions in the restaurant industry, and Archways to Opportunity, which has awarded over $26 million in high school and college tuition assistance to over 18,800 U.S. restaurant employees.

The company will grant $1 million to Skills for Chicagoland’s Future in support of a new apprenticeship program with City Colleges of Chicago. The program builds on City Colleges of Chicago’s mission to deliver a quality, affordable education, work-based learning opportunities and a path to upward mobility for its students. Kicking off this fall, the pilot will enable 40 students to earn an associate degree in business while working toward a restaurant management role. The grant from McDonald’s will provide scholarships to pay for time spent in class by any student who is an employee of a McDonald’s franchisee. As part of this initiative, McDonald’s has also joined the Chicago Apprenticeship Network to continue best practice sharing with other companies that are committed to expanding professional advancement through apprenticeships. Click here to learn more.

McDonald’s is frequently recognized for its upskilling efforts and is a featured player in our UpSkilling Playbook for Employers. Learn more about McDonald’s upskilling efforts in our sections on Apprenticeship, College Degrees, High School Completion/Equivalency, and Pre-employment Training.

More upskilling news from McDonald’s



#Upskilling? I’m lovin’ it. @McDonaldsCorp’s new initiative, Youth Opportunity, will reduce barriers to employment for two million young people by 2025.

“This new initiative by @McDonaldsCorp has the potential to support many young women and men [and] boost their transition into quality jobs.” -Sukti Dasgupta, Chief, Employment and Labour Market Policies Branch @ILO

“Around the world, too many young people are finding that, through no fault of their own, there are barriers to entry into the workplace. We believe this needs to change.” @_davidfairhurst, EVP & Chief People Officer @McDonaldsCorp

“Chicago is proud to partner with @McDonaldsCorp to ramp up our workforce development efforts and help create more opportunities for young men and women across our great city.” Rahm Emanuel @ChicagosMayor

“@McDonaldsCorp’s investment in youth development stands to make a real impact in the United States and around the world in providing young people with both skills and opportunities for employment.” @SusanReichle @IYFtweets

“With its Youth Opportunity Initiative, @McDonaldsCorp is sending a clear signal that they are investing in young people and their career pathways.” -Marie Trzupek Lynch, President & CEO @SCFJobs

“Working with @McDonaldsCorp & companies across Chicago, we are helping to create a more inclusive workforce and a more inclusive Chicago economy that allows people from all neighborhoods to contribute their abundant talents to our city.” @Chancellor_Juan


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