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How Starbucks, Airbnb, And LinkedIn Are Helping To Develop The Gen Z Workforce

The big brands partnering with Service Year 100 are helping community-minded young people to boost their careers.

How Starbucks, Airbnb, And LinkedIn Are Helping To Develop The Gen Z Workforce
[Photo: courtesy of Service Year]

Service Year Alliance (SYA), the national organization that aims to give young Americans a shot at advancing their careers by doing a year of paid, full-time service, is offering a new way for 100 young people working in participating organizations in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Seattle, and San Francisco to take their professional development to the next level.

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Airbnb, LinkedIn, and Starbucks are partnering with SYA for “Service Year 100” to give participants special incentives to boost their career trajectories and assist with their service challenges. That means access to hiring teams, speakers’ series, and local events at each of the companies, as well as extra perks. 

Each of the 100 program participants will be issued special challenges throughout their year of service that will help build their leadership skills, promote relationship building, and teach collaboration.

[Photo: courtesy of Service Year]
For example, Airbnb’s challenge is to build trust with strangers. As such, participants are encouraged to move to new communities with a free relocation voucher to use on both Airbnb accommodations and experiences. The Airbnb experiences will focus on social impact and connect members to new neighborhoods through local nonprofits.

LinkedIn is giving participants premium accounts and challenging them to use it to advance their careers by learning new skills and finding ways to leverage their networks. Starbucks is giving participants gift cards with the idea that they can use the free coffee as “conversation starters” to help them create new relationships.

The 100 participants will be chosen from a larger pool of service workers who are already enrolled in a service year in one of the five Service Year 100 cities. The SYA takes on over 65,000 young workers annually either before, during, or after college. They apply for and get job opportunities at nonprofit organizations or other agencies like CityYear, Habitat for Humanity, Playworks, and Food Corps, among others, that are working to impact a community through revitalization efforts, education and development for children at risk, and other initiatives.

[Photo: courtesy of Service Year]
Each worker in both the new program and the traditional service year is paid for their work (usually between $12,530 to $25,060 for the year). That changes based on whether or not housing is provided, or if the position requires a professional degree or certification. Many positions also offer the opportunity to receive loan forbearance and an education award for students to use on future education or pay off student loans. Some even offer child care benefits. This can work to the young person’s advantage as they are paid for providing a needed community service and make themselves more attractive to employers who view volunteering as an important professional development tool.

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There is no guarantee that they will be hired by any of the three partner companies, but having access to hiring teams will give them an advantage over someone applying without having completed the service year.

But the benefits are meant to outweigh a single job offer. As Joe Gebbia, cofounder and chief product officer of Airbnb puts it: “Service Year 100 allows us to help support their journey as they build trust with strangers and learn to belong anywhere.”

About the author

Lydia Dishman is a reporter writing about the intersection of tech, leadership, and innovation. She is a regular contributor to Fast Company and has written for CBS Moneywatch, Fortune, The Guardian, Popular Science, and the New York Times, among others.

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