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On a conference call with journalists on Monday, Broderick Johnson, White House Cabinet Secretary and Chair of the President’s My Brother’s Keeper Task Force, commended Starbucks for its hiring initiative, and said “it makes sense from an economic standpoint to invest in young people” and close “persistent opportunity gaps for young men of color.” Johnson emphasized that the Starbucks hiring plan is “not charity” but a chance for Starbucks to hire qualified applicants.

I’m not suggesting that Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz created this hiring initiative solely because of Obama. But Schultz is embarking on a plan for Starbucks to become more socially responsible and that deserves praise simply because so many companies have systematically shut out workers of color, and black men in particular.

To hire the 100,000 workers, Starbucks is teaming up with more than a dozen companies including, Macy’s, JP Morgan Chase, Wal-Mart, Target, Microsoft Corp., Taco Bell, JC Penney, CVS Heath and Hilton Worldwide.

“We’re not displacing jobs, but creating incremental opportunities in most of these companies,” Schultz told The Wall Street Journal.

Some Americans embrace Schultz’s efforts, while others have openly criticized him for jumping into a prickly issue of race and suggesting that Schultz stick to what he does best: making coffee.

So while Schultz urges America’s largest companies to hire 100,000 black and Hispanic employees, I’m hoping that a dozen more big firms join Schultz’s landmark campaign, which follows Obama’s broad vision to uplift young men of color who have been overlooked and underappreciated in the job market for decades.

What do you think?

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Starbucks Commits To Diversity In Hiring; Will More Corporations Follow?  was originally published on

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