Using our scale to supportYouth Opportunity

Reducing barriers to employment for two million young people by 2025, through pre-employment job readiness training, employment opportunities and workplace development programs.


Why it matters

Almost one in four young people across the world (21.8 percent) are not in employment, education or training, which can dramatically impact their skills development, earning capacity, long-term employability and wellbeing.1 We believe this needs to change.

Together with our independent Franchisees we have a longstanding commitment to providing training, education and career pathways to unlock the potential of Company and Franchisee employees. Yet, many young people face barriers to entry into the workplace and – through no fault of their own – are being left behind, unable to take advantage of employer-based education and training opportunities that exist. As a major employer of young people, McDonald’s has the potential and the scale to help bridge this opportunity gap.



On this page:

Our approach | Our actions


Our approach


In 2018 we launched a new initiative called Youth Opportunity, with a global goal to reduce barriers to employment for two-million young people by 2025, through pre-employment job readiness training, employment opportunities and workplace development programs. As part of this goal, McDonald’s also joined the Global Initiative on Decent Jobs for Youth, a United Nations led multi-stakeholder initiative, to help accelerate efforts to tackle the youth employment challenge.

Our Youth Opportunity initiative supports the UN Sustainable Development Goals, a global agenda to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all, specifically goal 8 – to promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth, employment and decent work for all.



Pre-employment Training

In partnership with local community organizations and the International Youth Foundation (IYF), which has over two decades experience in youth development around the world, we are offering a new pre-employment work-readiness and soft skills training program designed to help young people develop the competencies employers are looking for in entry-level employees. We are piloting this initiative in Chicago, with the goal of reducing barriers to employment for 4,000 young people in the city, before rolling it out to select cities in the U.S. from 2019 onwards. This initiative will also be rolled out to participating global markets through locally-relevant training programs and partners, starting from 2019.


“McDonald’s investment in youth development stands to make a real impact in the United States and around the world in providing young people with both skills and opportunities for employment.“

Susan Reichle, President, IYF

In 2018, McDonald’s Corporation will distribute $1 million in grants to local community organizations in Chicago to deliver the job readiness training for young people who have less access to opportunities. McDonald’s is bringing together four trusted community organizations – After School Matters, Skills for Chicagoland’s Future, Phalanx Family Services and Central States SER – who will pair relevant skills training programs with a specialized version of IYF’s Passport to Success curriculum, developed in partnership with McDonald’s. Participants will learn valuable soft skills such as self-awareness and management, communication skills, problem solving and conflict management. In addition to being considered for job opportunities at Company-owned and Franchisee restaurants, graduates from the training will have the chance to pursue opportunities with potential employers across a variety of industries like healthcare, supply chain logistics and IT.


Employment Opportunities and Workplace Development Programs

Through our Youth Opportunity initiative, we want to attract a diverse and untapped pool of talented youth to McDonald’s restaurants across the world. Focusing on young people who have less access to opportunities, McDonald’s, including participating Franchisees, will continue to provide job opportunities that young people need to kick-start their career. Through these jobs, young people will develop transferable soft skills, such as teamwork, communication and decision making, as well as hospitality experience and work ethic that will enable them to progress in the workplace.

Employees can go on to access training, education and leadership development programs to progress their careers. For example, McDonald’s Hamburger University has grown to seven campuses around the world and prepared more than 360,000 students for leadership positions in the restaurant industry. Our global education program, Archways to Opportunity, also offers eligible employees from Company-owned restaurants and participating Franchisee restaurants the opportunity to graduate from college, earn a high school diploma, learn English as a second language, complete an apprenticeship, and gain access to advising services. Across the globe, the Company and its Franchisees offer education opportunities to restaurant employees in 25 countries and counting. In the U.S. we have awarded over $26 million in high school and college tuition assistance to over 18,800 U.S. restaurant employees since 2015.


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Our actions


Supporting youth across Latin America

As the region’s largest employer of young people, Arcos Dorados, a McDonald’s Franchisee in Latin America is committed to supporting the social mobility of young people and offering formal employment opportunities to young people with little to no previous work experience. As part of our global goal, Arcos Dorados aims to reach 180,000 young people through a range of pre-employment skills training and development programs.


Investing in apprenticeships

The success of our initiative depends not only on helping young people access jobs but also on our significant and ongoing commitment to young people who join us, through training, education and development programs.


In Europe, McDonald’s, including participating Franchisees, have pledged to offer 43,000 apprenticeships by 2025 as one of the career development opportunities that young people can access. The apprenticeships combine workplace training and study, enabling people to gain practical work experience and new skills that will last a lifetime - all while earning money at the same time. These apprenticeships will be offered in the UK, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy and Switzerland, with the aim of expanding apprenticeships to other markets in the future. Through this pledge, McDonald’s is also joining the European Alliance for Apprenticeships to help promote and improve access to vocational training for young people.


In the U.S., we will grant $1 million to Skills for Chicagoland’s Future in support of a new apprenticeship program in partnership with City Colleges of Chicago. The program builds on City Colleges of Chicago’s mission to deliver exceptional learning opportunities and educational services for students. Kicking off in fall 2018, this pilot will enable 40 students to earn an Associate’s degree in Business Administration while working toward a restaurant management role. The grant will provide scholarships to pay for time spent in class by any student who is an employee of a Franchisee. As part of this initiative, we have also joined the Chicago Apprenticeship Network to continue best practice sharing with other companies that are committed to expanding professional advancement through apprenticeships.


“There continues to be a disconnect between employers struggling to find qualified candidates and young adults looking for jobs. With its Youth Opportunity Initiative, McDonald’s is sending a clear signal that they are investing in young people and their career pathways. We are proud to partner with McDonald’s to identify and place young people into jobs as well as provide them job readiness services and connect them to mentoring resources to provide a holistic program to support them. This approach puts the focus on an individual’s potential – not their circumstance – and empowers Chicago’s youth to turn that potential into achievement. “

Marie Trzupek Lynch, founding President and CEO of Skills for Chicagoland’s Future


1. Source: International Labour Organization, Global Employment Trends fort Youth (2017)

Franchisees are independent employers and each franchisee and each franchisee restaurant is unique.  Franchisees are alone responsible for all employment matters in their restaurant(s), including alone making all decisions regarding the requirements for jobs and setting all terms and conditions of employment, including hiring, firing, discipline, supervision, staffing and scheduling.  McDonald’s Corporation and its subsidiaries have no control over employment matters at restaurants owned and operated by franchisees.