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Starbucks opens store with job training site in Ferguson, Missouri

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Starbucks has opened a store in Ferguson, Missouri, a city that was rocked by racial unrest in 2014, as part of its ongoing initiative to open stores in at least 15 lower-income U.S. communities by 2018.

The opening follows the launch of a similar store in the Jamaica section of Queens, New York, in March. Both are part of a national plan to provide local jobs, create training opportunities for youth, and support efforts to rebuild and revitalize communities.

The Ferguson store includes a specially-designed classroom space where Starbucks, in partnership with such nonprofit partners as the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis, will provide a multi-week job skills training program for local youth. The retailer will offer a similar program for youth at its new store in the Jamaica neighborhood of Queens.

The store, featuring both a cafe and drive-thru, has hired 30 employees many of whom are from the Ferguson or greater St. Louis areas. Starbucks noted that hiring locally is an important part of its strategy to support economic development and build stronger connections with the community.

In addition, Starbucks worked with Simms Building Group, a minority-owned general contracting and construction management firm in the St. Louis area, to build the site.

As part of its commitment to investing in the community, Starbucks is also working with Natalie DuBose, owner of Ferguson bakery Natalie’s Cakes & More, which was damaged in the rioting related to the fatal police shooting of an 18-year-old boy in August 2014.

The coffee giant is also selling Natalie’s baked goods in more than 30 Starbucks locations in the St. Louis region, as well as new Ferguson store.

“We’ve long considered how we can help deliver social impact in ways that drive our business forward,” said Rodney Hines, Starbucks director of community investments for U.S. retail operations. “We have always seen investments in the communities where Starbucks partners live and serve as investments in our business and brand."

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