Local nonprofit Arizona Call-a-Youth Resources (ACYR) has partnered with the Starbucks store at 730 W. Camelback Road to offer an in-store job skills and customer service training program to local youth. An estimated one-in-five  Phoenix youth is not in school or employed,compared to one in seven nationally.

The training will be offered in a newly designed classroom in the store, which the company unveiled to the community on Aug. 18. On hand for the event were representatives from Starbucks and ACYR (www.acyraz.org) as well as state and local dignitaries including Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton, Dist. 4 Councilwoman Laura Pastor, Rep. Ken Clark, and Sen. Katie Hobbs.

The new community room will be used to train disadvantaged youth ages 16-24 who are not currently in school or working. The program, which launches with ACYR this month, will teach them such job skills as resume writing, interviewing, leadership, and more. While the initial partnership will be with ACYR, the store likely will partner with other youth-based organizations in the future.

It’s not the first time ACYR, located at 649 N. 6th Ave., has partnered with Starbucks. The nonprofit has received grant funds for teen leadership programs in the past, so this new arrangement is really just an extension of that relationship, explains Sharlet Barnett, CEO of ACYR.

Barnett envisions the new program, the details of which are still being finalized, to be a combination of ACYR’s employment skills training along with the customer service excellence training offered by Starbucks to its baristas.

Local youth age 16-24 throughout the Phoenix community who come from disadvantaged households and are not working or in school are invited to call ACYR at 602-252-6721 and ask to be added to the waiting list for the job skills and leadership training program at the Starbucks store.

The unveiling of the new training space is part of the store’s initiative to support local economic development and job opportunities. As part of this initiative, Starbucks will hire locally and work with local minority and women-owned suppliers, nonprofits and civic leaders to create new opportunities for community engagement.

“This type of partnership is fundamental to who Starbucks is,” said Rodney Hines, Starbucks director of Community Investments. “It’s not about charity, it’s about doing good business and being a partner in the community.”

This is only the third such Starbucks program in the country, including Ferguson, Mo., and Queens, N.Y. Starbucks plans to expand this initiative to at least 15 diverse, urban low- to mid-income communities across the United States.



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