A Double Bottom Line Investment for Companies: Giving Young People Their First Jobs

A recent blog co-authored by Gap Inc. CEO Art Peck and Secretary of Education, John King discusses the business value of hiring opportunity youth and how youth in the Gap Inc. internship program, This Way Ahead, make a significant contribution to the company’s bottom line: their retention rate is double that of their peers, and they have some of the highest engagement scores in the company.

In 2016, This Way Ahead will run in 13 cities and 185 stores, and additional expansion is planned for the future.

Here’s an excerpt from the blog:

Gap Inc. recognizes the transformative power of work, and the value created by connecting young people to their first job. Since the company’s inception in 1969, Gap Inc. has hired hundreds of thousands of young people in their first job, and the company understands what it takes for teens and young adults to succeed at work. Leveraging that expertise, in 2007 the company launched a job training and internship program, called This Way Ahead, to provide low-income youth with the skills they need to get – and keep – that first job. Over the course of the program, participants gain important work experience and training in Gap Inc. stores, while earning a paycheck. More than 75 percent of This Way Ahead graduates are hired for on-going jobs with the company. Perhaps most notably, This Way Ahead generates strong business value for Gap Inc., by creating a pipeline of diverse and engaged talent, while the youth gain valuable skills, work experience, and big boost in confidence. The program graduates hired by the company enjoy double the retention rate and higher engagement scores than their peers. Based on this success, the company is confirming plans to expand This Way Ahead in 2016 to drive additional business growth and attract new talent.