Sprint Chicago Challenges Local Corporations to Help Nonprofits Find Career Paths for Opportunity Youth

Career Climbers / 4th April 2018

Sprint (NYSE:S) joins Youth Guidance to expand its Project Prepare Blue program, after receiving a generous grant from The Aspen Institute. Originally launched in 2016, and enhanced in 2017 with Sprint, the program is designed to give youth, ages 18-24, who have attained a high school diploma but are unemployed and out-of-school, the tools and support they need to enter the workforce and and/or enroll in higher education.

“Sprint is proud to support Youth Guidance in this positive endeavor to create career paths for Opportunity Youth (OY),” said Jim Mills, Sprint President of the Midwest. “In our time together, 72% of OY have already entered the workforce and/or enrolled in higher education within three months of completing the program. As we continue to find talented, ambitious people and, in many cases, bring them onto our team, we challenge other corporations to do the same.”

Project Prepare Blue, or Blue, with Sprint’s support, now provides integrated training, career counseling, case management, job placement, and retention support. Each youth is paired with a Career Specialist to create and implement an individual service strategy that guides them in overcoming obstacles to securing and retaining jobs. Often, qualified candidates who have completed the program are then recruited by companies like Sprint.

With hundreds of stores in Chicago, Sprint is consistently looking for talented individuals to fill retail positions.1 District and store managers dedicate a substantial amount of time to recruitment, and this program provides a funnel of qualified candidates. Retail sales consultant positions are great opportunities for youth when entering the workforce because they not only learn fundamental skills, but each store operates like a small business with employees that fill diverse roles which include greeters, sales, customer care, technicians, and management.

“We are so proud to work in collaboration with Sprint on helping youth successfully transition to the world of work,” says Michelle Adler-Morrison, Youth Guidance CEO. “I could not have asked for a better corporate partner. Sprint embraces its responsibility to give back to the community while also getting qualified, prepared and enthusiastic employees. We hope this positive partnership will motivate other corporations to join us.”

Sprint is committed to advancing employees from within the company. Among District Manager positions in Illinois and Wisconsin, almost all of the positions were filled by employees that began their career in a Sprint store. By exposing youth to opportunities for employment and advancement at Sprint, and developing industry skills, the results have shown higher rates of hiring, retention, and progression for these youth.

To date, Youth Guidance (YG) and Sprint have helped 25 Opportunity Youth through Blue in which 72% of those students have entered the workforce or enrolled in higher education:

– 52% were placed in employment, including Sprint
– 12% were placed in paid internships
– 12% joined AmeriCorps
– 20% enrolled in college and persisted through their first semester. 2

Store count includes Sprint corporate-owned stores, Sprint dealer stores and Boost Mobile prepaid stores.
2 Some youth have received multiple placements in programs so percentages shown above will not add up to 72%.

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