Today, Gap Inc. announced plans to significantly expand This Way Ahead, its life skills and on-the-job training program for Opportunity Youth, from 15 cities in 2017 to 53 cities globally. Launched in 2007 for 16 to 24-year-olds from low-income communities, the company is rolling out new partnerships with non-profit organizations and introducing program models that will enable it to operate year-round. Based on the program’s proven results to attract and retain highly-engaged employees, the company plans to hire five percent of all new entry-level store employees from the program by 2025.
Details of the 2018 expansion include:
- Through a new national partnership with Boys & Girls Clubs of America, This Way Ahead will be offered in 22 U.S. cities in 2018 and will be in 60 cities by the end of 2020. Local Clubs will connect youth with hiring opportunities at Banana Republic, Gap and Old Navy stores and will operate year-round.
- For the first time, Athleta will begin piloting the program in select U.S. stores.
- Globally, This Way Ahead will be piloted in select Gap and Banana Republic stores in Japan in partnership with Multi-Cultural Center of Tokyo, and will increase from three to 11 cities across the U.K.
- Gap Inc. will also extend programming to its distribution centers in the U.S., beginning in Gallatin, Tennessee.
“We believe in the universal power of a first job,” said Brent Hyder, Executive Vice President and Chief People Officer for Gap Inc. “From Belfast to Tokyo and from Minneapolis to Sarasota, This Way Ahead provides the experiences and skills that young people need to succeed both in work and in life. For Gap Inc., this program is a valuable talent pipeline of future employees and it helps us to build stronger relationships with our communities and customers. This Way Ahead isn’t just the right thing to do, it’s the smart thing to do.”
“Boys & Girls Clubs not only offer a safe environment for teens but they also provide a space for them to discover their career passion,” said Jim Clark, President and CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of America. “Thanks to Gap Inc.’s This Way Ahead expansion, more teens will have access to job shadowing, resume building, on-the-job training and first job opportunities, all the tools they need to have a successful future.”
In addition to helping young people gain first job experiences, findings from program evaluations show that This Way Ahead also benefits Gap Inc. and the communities where it operates.
- Participants tend to stay with the company twice as long as their peers and have higher engagement scores than their co-workers.
- In 2017, 70 percent of participants reported increased confidence, particularly in their ability to get a job in the future.
- Last year, 80 percent of store managers who worked with This Way Ahead participants reported increased skills in key competencies like leadership and communication skills.
- Results from a new survey of This Way Ahead alumni (2007–2016 participants) show that 72 percent go on to secure stable employment compared with 55 percent of their peers.
About This Way Ahead
Launched in 2007 at select Banana Republic, Gap and Old Navy stores, Gap Inc.’s This Way Ahead program will reach 53 cities in Canada, Japan, the U.S. and the U.K. by the end of 2018. By 2020, the company expects 10,000 teens and young adults will have participated in This Way Ahead, receiving job coaching and critical first job experience. In 2017, Gap Inc. brands extended job offers to 74 percent of This Way Ahead graduates after doubling the number of participants in the program that year. Learn more here.