Starbucks To Launch Hiring Effort Focused on 'Disenfranchised and Disconnected' Youth

Rocky Start, Criticism for 'Race Together' Not Slowing Company Down

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Starbucks Race Together
Starbucks Race Together

Starbucks has certainly had a controversial week so far, thanks to its new initiative "Race Together," an effort that involves the chain looking to encourage conversations on race by having baristas write the two words on its cups.

If you've paid any attention, you know it didn't go over so well with everyone; responses in social media ranged from criticism for glossing over a complex issue to mockery to questions about whether the company trained employees on how to broach the subject. Others noted the company is run mostly by white men. The company said that to some degree it expected a backlash, "but we feel it is worth the discomfort."

Starbucks is already moving on to the next phase. It will be hosting its annual investor meeting later today, and the company said earlier this week it would have more news around "Race Together." But late yesterday afternoon, Mr. Schultz told BuzzFeed that part of the announcement at the investors meeting would be an initiative to hire young people of color, who Mr. Schultz described as "disenfranchised and disconnected."

According to BuzzFeed:

[T]he company will put a little more of its money where its mouth is, announcing a new hiring plan focused on what CEO Howard Schultz says are the millions of young Americans, mainly African American and Latino, that are both unemployed and out of school. The plan is a sequel of sorts to a previous commitment to hire 10,000 veterans and their spouses, which was first announced in 2013.

In the leadup to the announcement of "Race Together," Mr. Schultz said Starbucks hosted what it called "partner forums" with employees to better understand issues and how to go about addressing the subject.

But an exec other than Mr. Schultz found himself caught in the crossfire after the announcement Monday. Twitter users tweeted questions and criticisms about the issue to the company's top PR exec, Corey DuBrowa, who deleted his account Monday night after blocking some users. That the company's top PR person blocked people and closed his account as the company was trying to open a dialogue upset a great many people, causing a separate conversation on Twitter about his move. Mr. DuBrowa went back on Twitter last night, writing an explanation on Medium.

Here's Mr. Schultz's video released Monday:

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