Starbucks is hiring, and a startup that was born at Ryerson is helping those jobs go to refugees.

The popular coffee chain plans to hire 1,000 refugees in Canada over the next five years, and 10,000 refugees worldwide.

After the announcement was made, Starbucks reached out to Hire Immigrants, a research centre through Ryerson’s “think-and-do” tank, the Global Diversity Exchange, which works to help newcomers find work.

Starbucks in the SLC lobby. (Sarah Jackson/Ryersonian Staff)

Hire Immigrants recently joined the Magnet network, a not-for-profit startup from the Digital Media Zone (DMZ) which works to eliminate barriers in the workforce.

Its past projects include the Disability Discovery Project, which worked to remove employment barriers for the disabled.

Mark Patterson, executive director of Hire Immigrants, said he is happy to assist Starbucks in reaching its goal.

“This can be a really important opportunity for refugees to get themselves into the labour market in Canada,” said Patterson. “Starbucks is well known for their position on supporting diverse groups of people, so we are happy to be able to do this with them.”

This new hiring plan will build on other programs Starbucks has in place. The company has helped youth find jobs through the Youth Work Placement Program, which aids disadvantaged youth aged 16-24 to find jobs. It also operates the Opportunity Youth program, which offers 10 per cent of its store hires to young people who are in need of jobs but face barriers to employment.

“It’s important to know how Starbucks supports those who need help finding jobs,” said Patterson. “They also have many benefits for their employees.”

These benefits include [medical and dental care, as well as $5,000 a year for mental health support for those working a minimum of 20 hours a week],” said Patterson.

This collaboration with Hire Immigrants creates opportunities for refugees all over the world. According to Patterson, each refugee is placed in a job that aligns with their individual expertise and experience.

“We have a lot of other highly experienced newcomers that we support and help find other jobs that reflect the skills that they have,” said Patterson.

Before announcing the new plan, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz publicly expressed his negative feelings towards United States president Donald Trump’s travel ban and suspension of the country’s refugee program.


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