Schultz Family Foundation and MENTOR Launch National Mentorship Initiative to Support Opportunity Youth

Erin Souza-Rezendes, Director of Communications
May 1st, 2018
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Schultz Family Foundation and MENTOR Launch National Mentorship Initiative to Support Opportunity Youth

The project is being piloted in five cities and aims to scale nationwide by 2022

BOSTON/SEATTLE – As part of its continuing commitment to unlock opportunities for 4.6 million Opportunity Youth in the U.S. – youth and young adults between the ages of 16-24 who are out of school and not employed – the Schultz Family Foundation announced a grant to enable MENTOR to develop a first-of-its-kind national mentoring initiative. 

Adopting a unique approach, MENTOR is collaborating with corporate and national non-profit partners and workforce development programs to match Opportunity Youth with both trained, community-based mentors and workplace mentors once employed. The project aims to scale support for Opportunity Youth with mentors nationwide by 2022. MENTOR will also pilot a new training curriculum and support systems developed in partnership with Opportunity Youth, employers and mentors, with the goal of building a scalable model to jump-start and develop careers for young people.

The initiative will be piloted in Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Seattle and Washington, D.C. before launching nationally and has already attracted national partners, including Teach For America and Year Up that will engage their alumni networks as community-based mentors while employers who are seeking to hire and retain young talent will match young people with trained, workplace mentors. In the pilot, MENTOR is planning on partnering with major employers committed to hiring Opportunity Youth such as Five Guys, Starbucks, CVS Health and others. The Center for Promise, in collaboration with Boston University School of Education, is sharing their expertise on the project by serving as program evaluator. The Center is the first-ever research center for America’s Promise Alliance.

While this initiative is national in scope, it will officially kick off on May 3 in Atlanta, as part of the local launch of the 100,000 Opportunities Initiative. Atlanta is the seventh community to join the 100,000 Opportunities Initiative, a coalition of more than 50 companies committed to preparing, hiring and supporting Opportunity Youth, which is also supported by the Schultz Family Foundation and other national and local funders.

“Most of us have powerful stories of how caring people impacted our lives,” said Daniel Pitasky, executive director of the Schultz Family Foundation. “This speaks to the power of mentorship and community. We recognize that connecting young people to opportunities isn’t sufficient. Opportunities must come with the supports necessary to take advantage of them.” 

“Too many young people lack a network of relationships that can help them navigate often complex pathways to employment and, once hired, the unfamiliar culture of the workplace,” continued Pitasky. “We believe our investment in MENTOR and this mentoring model lays the groundwork to transform young people’s lives while also enabling companies to see concrete ways that high-quality mentoring can bolster their efforts to retain Opportunity Youth. Companies will save money around the high cost of employee turnover and talented youth will have the supports to grow their careers. It’s a total win-win.”

MENTOR’s research shows that young people with mentors are more likely to succeed in school, become leaders in their communities, and be equipped with the tools they need to build a career. While many employers report difficulty finding and retaining talent, this project aims to leverage mentoring relationships as a strategy to increase workforce retention for Opportunity Youth across diverse employment opportunities.

“This incredible partnership with the Schultz Family Foundation is not only a game-changer for the mentoring movement,” said David Shapiro, CEO of MENTOR. “This initiative puts a bold vision into practice – we are investing in jumpstarting and developing the careers of Opportunity Youth through meaningful relationships. When we prioritize relationships in workforce development, the potential to increase access, navigation, and opportunity is boundless.”

In addition to increasing the quantity of mentoring connections for Opportunity Youth, the initiative will increase the quality of mentoring through the creation of tools and support systems that are tailored to address the challenges faced by Opportunity Youth as they seek to obtain employment and build social capital.

About MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership

MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership is the unifying champion for quality youth mentoring in the United States. MENTOR’s mission is to close the “mentoring gap” and ensure our nation’s young people have the support they need through quality mentoring relationships to succeed at home, school, and ultimately, work. To achieve this, MENTOR collaborates with its Affiliates and works to drive the investment of time and money into high impact mentoring programs and advance quality mentoring through the development and delivery of standards, cutting-edge research and state-of-the-art tools.  Connect with MENTOR on LinkedInTwitterFacebook and Instagram.

About the Schultz Family Foundation

The Schultz Family Foundation, established in 1996 by Sheri and Howard Schultz, aims to unlock America’s potential, one individual and one community at a time.  It creates opportunities for populations facing barriers to success to ensure that their place in life isn’t determined by zip code, race, religion, gender or sexual identity. Investing in innovative, scalable solutions and partnerships, the Foundation focuses its efforts on two groups with enormous promise: the 4.6 million youth and young adults aged between 16 and 24 who are out of school and out of work, and the 3.8 million post 9/11 veterans and the approximately 300,000 service members who transition from active, National Guard, or Reserve duty to civilian life each year.

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