Starbucks said Thursday it?s opening stores in 15 poor and middle-class inner city locations across the U.S., including one in Ferguson, Mo., as part of its bid to integrate more disadvantaged youths into the workforce.
Other than the West Florissant neighborhood of Ferguson, stores will open next year in Queens, New York, the Englewood neighborhood on the South Side of Chicago, and in Milwaukee.
There will also be a big remodel of a store in Phoenix.
Ten other stores are expected to open by 2018, a date by which the coffee giant has promised to hire 10,000 youths who are neither employed nor at school and are at risk of never achieving economic self-sufficiency.
Each of the stores will employ an average of 20 to 25 people from the local area and will have a space dedicated to training. Starbucks says it will also seek to join forces with local women and minority-owned contractors for design and construction of the stores, as well as with suppliers of locally made food products it can incorporate into its offerings.
The company said it would closely watch how the stores are doing to see if it can add more inner-city locations into its long-term expansion strategy.
Starbucks this week announced a pact with several other companies to collectively hire or train100,000 at-risk youth.