Major businesses adding jobs for youth

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- More jobs could be on the way for Memphis high school and college students.

More than a dozen major retailers announced they were teaming up to offer 100,000 jobs for youth over the next three years, targeting those between 16 and 24-years-old.

"There's a big need. There's a big need and we're waiting; he's ready to work. It's his first job. He's excited so we've been putting applications online so he's ready," said Kimberly Dawson Monday afternoon as she stood next to her 16-year-old son Kerion Dawson.

Dawson said locking down that first job for Kerion hasn't been an easy task.

Kerion said he's willing to work anywhere.

He applied for a job through MPLOY but never heard back.

The City of Memphis' MPLOY paid young people to work at area businesses.

According to Memphis City Council woman Wanda Halbert, who spearheaded the MPLOY summer jobs program, Kerion was not alone.

There were thousands of teens who wanted to work in the Bluff City.

"The fact that 8,000 young people applied for 1,000 summer jobs, that in itself says we can use all the help we can get," said Halbert.

Halbert said she planned on reaching out to the major retailers involved in the "100,000 Opportunities Initiative."

Starbucks started the program and dozens of other companies like Walmart, CVS and Taco Bell have jumped on board.

According to Starbucks' website they aimed to hire 100,000 mostly low-income 16 to 24-year-olds as either interns or full-time employees over the next three years.

Halbert said the jobs help teens prepare for the future.

"To understand the value, significance and importance of having a job and being able to maintain a lifestyle for yourself and your family," she explained.

But for Kerion, who stays busy playing basketball and running track, having a job not only helps with the future, he said for his friends it helps them stay out of trouble now too.

"They used to like stay in and out of jail but now they got a job," he said.

The first job fair is slated for August 13 in Chicago and thousands of teens are expected to show up.

The program's organizers said they plan to have other job fairs across the country.