How to Build

A Stronger Talent Pipeline

Grads of Life helps employers nationwide fulfill their talent needs and build employment pathways for young adults ages 16-24 who have not yet obtained a college credential. This website features tools that can help employers develop sources of talent by creating customized employment pathways, such as training, mentoring, internships, and hiring initiatives.

A Smart Business Decision

Employers who have invested in employment pathways to train opportunity youth report measurable benefits that include:

  • Cost-effective talent acquisition
  • Increased retention
  • Higher productivity
  • Increased diversity
  • Enhanced employee engagement
  • Improved consumer confidence
  • Stronger community ties
Learn More

Employer Success Stories

From Fortune 500s to savvy start-ups, innovative employers are boosting ROI and changing the lives of opportunity youth. See how everyone benefits:

“AT&T Aspire invests in students today – at home, in the classroom and at work – to prepare them for success tomorrow. Genesys Works is a wonderful collaborator for us to do this with – not only do we support the program financially, but we work with students directly. This interaction is beneficial to our employees, our future, and, most importantly, to the workforce of tomorrow.”
Nicole Anderson, Executive Director of Philanthropy at AT&T
"The young adults we've recruited through the LeadersUp model have been exceptional additions to our Ohio team and have showed promising leadership capabilities that will help meet our growing workforce needs."
Steve Sposari, SK Food Group President & CEO
"The Year Up interns come to AOL with a strong desire to succeed and a foundation of technical skills to build on. This is an investment in our local communities and the digital future."
Maureen Jules-Perez, Senior Technical Director & AOL/Year Up Internship Program Lead, AOL

Tools to Act

Explore four employment pathways with demonstrated results in building pipelines of skilled talent.

Connect with a Partner

Nonprofit, education, faith-based and government organizations can work with you to build a source of entry-level talent through employment pathways for young adults with atypical resumes.

OR  Browse All
A 5 digit zip code is required

Commitments by Employers

As more and more employers announce their commitment to build employment pathways to meet staffing needs, find out the steps they are taking and how you can join them.

The Buzz

  • New Report on Entry-Level Retention Strategies

    Our friend over at FSG and Walmart recently joined forces to publish Investing in Entry-Level Talent: Retention Strategies. The report highlights 4 evidence-based strategies for effective retention and advancement, backed by 14 practical suggestions for implementation as exhibited by companies like The Container Store, Verizon Wireless, Gap Inc., Wegmans Food Markets, and many others.

  • White House Announces #FirstJobs Compact

    The White House has announced some of the largest employers in the United States—including Walmart, Hilton, AT&T, Delta Airlines and more—have signed on to the #FirstJob Compact. These companies have committed to take a look at their hiring practices to identify ways to connect more of our nation’s young people to early career opportunities.

    In collaboration with the initiative, Grads of Life has released two tools (the Business Case Framework and a Partnership Management Tool) to support your company in incorporating Opportunity Youth into your talent pipelines.

  • 100,000 Opportunities Initiative Exceeds Goal

    The 100,000 Opportunities Initiative, the country’s largest employer-led coalition committed to creating pathways to meaningful employment for young people, announced that it has met its goal of employing 100,000 Opportunity Youth in first year. Learn more here.

  • @GradsofLife

    .@MENTORNational expanded programming at their national Summit for corporations who support mentoring. Sign up Today!

  • CEB Publishes Playbook to Help Employers Close the Technology Talent Gap

    CEB, an insight and technology company, recently released an Employer Playbook to help businesses recruit, hire, and develop tech talent from non-traditional sources. The free playbook is designed to provide private and public employers with best practices and tools to evaluate and improve their current technology talent hiring practices. To read the Playbook, click here.

  • Starbucks Leads Multi-Company Initiative to Hire 100,000 Opportunity Youth

    Starbucks is teaming up with more than a dozen companies to hire 100,000 mostly low-income, 16-to-24-year-olds as apprentices, interns and part- and full-time employees by 2018. “We’re not displacing jobs, but creating incremental opportunities in most of these companies,” Mr. Schultz said in an interview. Learn more about the 100,000 Opportunities Initiative here.

  • Starbucks-backed program helping SK Food Group find workers

    SK Food Group is featured in Columbus Business First for their partnership with LeadersUp and how it is helping them fill hundreds of new jobs while giving unemployed, out-of-school youth the opportunity to advance in Ohio. Read the article here

  • Walmart Announces $16 Million in Grants to Seven Nonprofits to Provide Training, Education and Career Pathways

    “We are excited to partner with other foundations, employers, training providers, government bodies and nonprofit organizations to improve career pathways for people in retail and adjacent sectors,” said Kathleen McLaughlin, president of the Walmart Foundation, senior vice president of Corporate Affairs. 

  • U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation releases white paper titled, “Making Youth Employment Work: Essential Elements for a Successful Strategy"

    On February 26, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation released a white paper titled, “Making Youth Employment Work: Essential Elements for a Successful Strategy,” at the 2015 Opportunity Summit. The paper was developed in collaboration with The Bridgespan Group and provides employers with strategies on how to forge new and customized pathways for developing young talent as part of their overall business strategy.

  • @GradsofLife

    @Starbucks CSR Ex: #oppyouth are “needed as part of our labor pool. We won’t be able to fill the jobs” without them.

  • EY and MENTOR release the business case for private-sector engagement in mentoring young adults

    EY and MENTOR released “Mentoring: at the crossroads of education, business and community,” which  looks at how top US businesses work with the public and non-profit sectors to provide youth in their communities with transformative mentoring relationships. The report examines the business benefits and offers best practices for businesses looking to start mentoring opportunities or businesses interested in expanding their existing programs.

  • Secretary Hillary Clinton Announces Grads of Life Campaign

    View Secretary Hillary Clinton’s invitation to join her in the launch of the Grads of Life PSA campaign: “I am asking employers, educators, non-profits, community leaders to join me and the Grads of Life campaign in this bold agenda to grow our economy and to create new opportunities for tomorrow’s leaders.”

  • @GradsofLife

    Sep 16 @tomfriedman on the power of #mentors:

Follow the Campaign