Starbucks Canada believes mentorship is a powerful way to support young people in achieving their dreams and aspirations, and yet, many young Black Canadians often don’t have access to this kind of support as they begin building their careers. The Black Business and Professional Association, with the support of Starbucks Canada and MentorCanada, wants that to change.
Beginning this month, 1,000 young Black Canadians between the ages of 14-29 will have the opportunity to be part of a mentorship program called MentorME to equip them with knowledge, guidance, resources and support to help secure employment, fulfill their potential in the workplace, build resilience and find resources for educational completion and achievement. Developed in partnership with the BBPA, SAY IT LOUD, MentorCanada and Starbucks Canada, MentorME has been created to address the needs of Black youth across specific industries including literary arts, visual arts, culinary art, performing art, technology, social impact and innovation, fashion design and entrepreneurship, connecting young Black Canadians to adult mentors from various professional sectors.
“The BBPA is committed to the wholesome development of members of the Black Community here in Canada,” says Nadine Spencer, president of the BBPA. “We have thousands of Black youth who are eager to access networks, resources and information that will accelerate their career and personal development. I’m pleased that the MentorME Program will serve as a platform to deliver these solutions to the members of the community waiting to receive them. It is our utmost pleasure as the BBPA, together with our outstanding partners, to demonstrate our commitment to their success.”
Earlier this summer, Starbucks Canada pledged $100,000 in funding to co-create and launch the MentorME program with the BBPA as part of its Canadian commitments to take action against anti-Black racism. In addition to this funding, Starbucks will work with its partners (employees) and other organizations to help them apply to be mentors for the program.
“We are very proud to support the work the BBPA is doing to address the opportunity divide for Black Canadian youth,” says Lori Digulla, general manager, Starbucks Canada. “We feel a deep responsibility to serve our communities and be a model for change and for good. We are committed to our journey to advance inclusion, diversity & equity for our partners and the communities we serve.”
Addressing the inequality of employment opportunities for disadvantaged youth has been a core focus for Starbucks in Canada. Through its Opportunity Youth and Refugee hiring initiatives, which have been ongoing since 2015, the company has worked to provide meaningful employment and support to more than 6,000 youth and refugees in Canada.
To learn more about the steps Starbucks Canada is taking to address racial inequity, click here.