McDonald’s expands youth skills training program

Dive Brief:

  • McDonald’s, aiming to improve equity in skills training for youth, is expanding its Passport to Success (PTS) Explorer digital curriculum planning to reach up to 100,000 through non-profits, community organizations and post-secondary institutions that support diverse communities, it announced Sept. 21.
  • In partnership with the International Youth Foundation (IYF), the curriculum teaches communication skills, self-awareness and management skills, along with guidance on how to build healthy relationships and conflict management, according to McDonald’s. IYF partners with organizations that serve the needs of youth with multiple barriers to employment. 
  • McDonald’s Youth Opportunity program also provides young people access to McDonald’s employment opportunities through virtual career development opportunities, which include resume and job application workshops and career panels in Spanish and English with McDonald’s corporate employees, it said. “The partnership with McDonald’s and IYF provides our affiliates with a great tool to work with Latinx youth in their communities — delivering invaluable life and job readiness skills through fun, engaging programs that will help them enter the workforce successfully,” Peggy McLeod, vice president education workforce development and evaluation at UnidosUS, a PTS Explorer partner, said in a statement.

Dive Insight:

McDonald’s youth initiative efforts come as the restaurant chain aims to improve workplace culture.

In March, the company announced the appointment of Heidi B. Capozzi as its executive vice president and global chief people officer. Capozzi is a member of CEO Chris Kempczinksi’s executive team. “Heidi brings insights from deep functional expertise to solve difficult and important business challenges, Capozzi said in a statement in March. 

In November 2019, McDonald’s board members voted to fire then-CEO Steve Easterbrook over a consensual relationship with an employee. However, in August, McDonald’s filed a lawsuit against Easterbook, claiming he allegedly had three additional sexual relationships with workers before his termination and lied about them, according to Restaurant Dive. McDonald’s seeks to take back Easterbrooks’ 26 weeks of severance benefits and compensation. 

In April, McDonald’s has also faced a class action suit alleging “severe or pervasive sexual harassment” of female employees. And a few months earlier, two Black senior executives filed a lawsuit, claiming “intentional race discrimination, disparate treatment, hostile work environment and unlawful retaliation.” The corporation also is fighting a push to force it to take responsibility for the actions of its franchise operators: The House Committee on Education and Labor subpoenaed the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Sept. 15 for ethical concerns related to its December ruling that McDonald’s would not have to answer for violations committed by franchisees. 

Amid those ongoing issues, McDonald’s is focused on hiring, in June announcing it expected to hire about 260,000 restaurant employees during the summer. In July, it also announced the launch of a scholarship fund to help students attending historically black colleges and universities continue their education this fall.

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