McDonald’s to expand Pre-Employment Pre-Employment Training to DC and Prince George’s County

July 18, 2019

CHICAGO (July 18, 2019) – McDonald’s Corporation and the International Youth Foundation (IYF) have expanded the Youth Opportunity initiative – 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 – to Washington DC and Prince George’s County in Maryland. Through a two hundred thousand dollar investment, McDonald’s and local franchisees aim to support 1,000 area youth develop the competencies and the confidence employers are looking for in entry-level employees.

According to Measure of America, there are 63,900 young people in DC and surrounding areas that face barriers preventing them from working or going to school. To address some of the challenges youth in the area face, McDonald’s will partner with three local community based organizations, The Maryland 4-H FoundationLatin American Youth Center and LAYC Career Academy to reach 1,000 young people in the area with the customized resources and relevant networks to connect their ambition with opportunity. 

Through local partnerships, McDonald’s and IYF will deploy relevant skills training programs with a specialized version of the IYF’s Passport to Success curriculum to help participants learn valuable soft skills such as self-awareness and management, communication skills, healthy relationship building, and conflict management.  In addition to being considered for job opportunities at company-owned and franchised restaurants, graduates from the training will have the chance to pursue education and employment opportunities with potential employers across a variety of industries like healthcare, supply chain logistics and IT.

“McDonald's Youth Opportunity program plays an important role in connecting young people to the local resources and mentorship they need to achieve their potential," said Melissa Kersey, McDonald's US Chief People Officer. "Together with our franchisees, we want youth in the DC-area and across the country to know that we believe in them and are invested in their success whether at McDonald’s or elsewhere."

“At the Office of the Attorney General, we work every day to help young people get on paths that lead to their brightest futures. The strength and determination shown by so many District kids is inspiring, and we know they have what it takes to succeed—but we also know that no one can do it alone,” said District of Columbia Attorney General Karl A. Racine. “That’s why community partnerships like this one are so important, and I applaud McDonald’s for investing in our young people and helping to knock down barriers they face on the path to success.”

The expansion of Youth Opportunity follows a successful inaugural pilot in Chicago. After announcing the program last summer, McDonald’s exceeded its goal and provided life skills training to over 4,200 young people to help reconnect them back into the workforce and education pathways. Upon completion of the program, 71%* of youth reported being engaged in education or employment, and approximately 150 are now working for local franchisees. Of those hired at McDonald’s, many have gone on to take advantage of the Archways to Opportunity education program. This program provides eligible employees at participating U.S. restaurants an opportunity to earn a high school diploma, receive upfront college tuition assistance, access free education/ career advising services and learn English as a second language. Since 2015, the Archways to Opportunity education program has increased access to education for over 38,500 people and awarded over 58 million in high school and college tuition assistance.  

“As we seek to better serve our customers through technology, such as mobile ordering and kiosks, and enhanced hospitality options like table service, we are creating opportunity for different skillsets deployed in different ways in our restaurants,” said Kersey. “Pre-employment programs coupled with our existing training and education programs can have a powerful and lasting impact on the quality of service McDonald’s customers ultimately experience, as well as benefitting the professional development and career progression of those who work in McDonald’s restaurants.” 

“Every day, around the world, we see evidence that young people are our greatest resource and our greatest hope. Too often, though, they lack the opportunities needed to reach their full potential. At the International Youth Foundation, we know that pre-employment skills are a critical piece of the solution,” said Susan Reichle, President & Chief Executive Officer of the International Youth Foundation. “We’re proud to be partnering with McDonald’s to deliver the Youth Opportunity pre-employment initiative—first with a successful pilot year in Chicago reaching 4,200 young people, and now in the Washington, D.C. metro area. I’m confident that the benefits of this program will impact young people, their families and communities, and the cities where we live.”

*Percentages were collected from IYF and include results from Chicago participants who elected to share with the local organizations that collect education/employment data. Therefore, not all data sets add up to the total enrollment number.

About McDonald’s USA

McDonald’s serves a variety of menu options made with quality ingredients to more than 25 million customers every day. Ninety-five percent of McDonald’s 14,000 U.S. restaurants are independently owned and operated by business men and women. For more information, visit, or follow us on Twitter @McDonalds and Facebook at Contact: Lauren Altmin,

About Our Partners

International Youth Foundation

The International Youth Foundation (IYF®) stands by, for, and with young people. Founded in 1990 through a generous grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, IYF is a global nonprofit with programs directly benefiting 7.7 million young people and operations spanning 100 countries so far. Together with local community-based organizations and a network of corporate, foundation, and multilateral partners, we connect young people with opportunities to transform their lives. We believe that educated, employed, engaged young people possess the power to solve the world’s toughest problems, and we focus our youth development efforts on three linked objectives: unlocking agency, driving economic opportunity, and making systems more inclusive. Our vision is to see young people inspired and equipped to realize the future they want. The International Youth Foundation: Transforming Lives, Together. To learn more about the International Youth Foundation, please join us at iyfnet.orgContact: Jonathan Mudd,

The Maryland 4-H Foundation

The Maryland 4-H Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization founded in 1959 with the purpose of funding national trips, Maryland state 4-H events, Maryland county grants and programs, awards, scholarships, and endowments for Maryland 4-H youth. Contact: Kevin Cannady,

LAYC Career Academy Public Charter School

LAYC Career Academy engages and empowers young people between the ages of 16 and 24 by providing a college preparatory education, career training in high-growth occupations and/or college-credit classes. We prepare students with industry training while helping to award industry recognized certifications. Contact: Bernadette Kreh,

LAYC-Maryland Multicultural Youth Centers
Latin American Youth Center’s mission is to empower a diverse population of youth to achieve a successful transition to adulthood through multi-cultural, comprehensive, and innovative programs that address youths’ social, academic, and career needs. LAYC serves over 5,000 youth and families through youth centers, school-based sites, and public charter schools in the District of Columbia and Maryland’s Prince George’s and Montgomery Counties as the Maryland Multicultural Youth Centers (MMYC). Contact: Spencer Perry,