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Engaging Employees to Help Disadvantaged Youths

Engaging Employees to Help Disadvantaged Youths

Companies are engaging their employees to make education more equitable. 

“Talent is equally distributed, opportunity is not,” said Leila Janah, a social entrepreneur who helps those in poverty learn digital skills and generate income.

Workplaces who topped our PEOPLE 2019 Companies that Care® list, agree. From technical skills to student debts, these companies aren’t willing to accept the education disparity between the haves and the have nots.

These companies have designed special programs focused on educating young people in their communities and closing opportunity gaps.

Coding with Adobe
Adobe’s Young Coding Initiative helps underrepresented youths, ages 12 to 18 get coding skills vital for rich career possibilities. Girls Who Code, Technovation, Chicktech, City Year, Mission Bit, Hack the Hood, and the Hispanic Heritage Foundation are just some of the organizations Adobe partners with on this mission.

This year, Adobe hosted five summer immersion programs for Girls Who Code. 100 employees acted as mentors and five female employees served as full-time teachers. The students spent seven weeks at an Adobe office, where they were paired with women Adobe mentors and able to immerse themselves in the technology. 

Since 2013, Adobe has provided more than $400,000 in grants to host the Summer Immersion Programs.

Dashing the divide at PwC
PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP’s (PwC) Your Potential Program caters to young people who are at risk of being left behind as the professional world rapidly evolves and the opportunity gap widens.

The opportunity gap is evident in a number of ways. Firstly, low income and minority students carry more than their share of student debt. Second, there’s a growing need for workers trained in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) skills, but a shortage of graduates who are.

To help close the gap PwC has committed $320 million to teach under-served students the technology and money skills they need to change the trajectory of their lives.

Since July 2017, 11,500 partners and staff have dedicated 128,000 hours to working with young people as part of Access Your Potential. Over the course of five years, PwC expects the number of hours volunteered to exceed 1 million.

A full week of service with Workday
Workday is well known for its Workforce Week. Not satisfied with one corporate day of service, the company hosts an entire week of workforce development each year. Young people who face barriers to employment can learn the soft skills and technical training they need to get (and keep) well-paying jobs.

In 2018, 18 Workday offices around the world participated in Workforce Week. Workday had more than 340 employee volunteers and over 20 partner organizations visit their offices to conduct workforce development training sessions.

Youth living with disability at Hyatt
Learning with Hyatt spends its resources to give young people a chance to succeed at work. Through a partnership with Hands On Education, 35 Hyatt hotels have trained over 1,700 students living with disability, helping them find jobs in the industry.

In 2017, 62 young people graduated from Youth Career Initiative programs at Hyatt hotels in Mexico, India, and Brazil. And 40 graduates were hired across nine Hyatt properties.

Launching in October 2018, RiseHY is Hyatt, and its hotels', commitment to hiring 10,000 Opportunity Youth by 2025. These are 18 to 24 year old’s who are disconnected from our economy either by not working or going to school. Between August 2016 and December 2017, Hyatt hired 1,885 of these young people. 

Unlimited volunteer time at Genetech
Genentech makes it easy for employees to volunteer with the youth of the community. Paid volunteer time-off isn’t limited. Employees who are in good standing can volunteer as much as they’d like with manager approval.

During Genentech Gives Back Week, employees take advantage of time away from work to make a huge impact within their communities. It’s a week of walking, volunteering, donating, and bidding in support of science, patients and people.

Genentech’s Futurelab program supports all K-12 students in South San Francisco (SSF) public school district and gets them excited about science, improves their college readiness and inspires them to pursue careers in STEM fields.

Since its launch in 2015, Futurelab represents an investment of more than $25 million into SSF schools in support of science education, including financial contributions, employee volunteer time and in-kind donations.

Whether you empower your employees to volunteer for the organizations that they care about or let them pass on their skills directly, everyone wins when you make giving back to disadvantaged youth part of your company culture. To read more about the companies who appear in the PEOPLE Companies that Care list, head here.


Claire Hastwell