Workforce Development

The Door – A Center of Alternatives, Inc.

In 2015 and 2016, the foundation, in partnership with the Gap Foundation, funded The Door to support This Way Ahead, a youth workforce initiative that capitalizes on growing employer demand in the retail industry. This Way Ahead provides youth in 12 cities across North America with the opportunity to build workplace skills and practice using them at Gap, Old Navy, and Banana Republic stores while receiving a paycheck. The Gap will focus its funding on support during the internship phase, providing job coaches employed by The Door to encourage persistence and address barriers through weekly support.

The program projects that in 2017, 285 youth (ages 16 to 21) will successfully complete retail skills and customer service training, with 235 of them then placed in paid internships in Gap, Inc. stores in New York City. At least 185 (65 percent) of these interns will be offered full- or part-time jobs. Based on prior results, the majority of these youth are positioned to meet job retention goals of at least two years, which is significant for this target population.

Unlike many employer workforce programs, which provide internships, the GAP has committed to providing extensive job support and true jobs. Few employers have been willing to invest in this way, making the program uniquely promising.

Given The Door’s excellent results in 2016, combined with Gap Inc.’s plans for continued program expansion, the program is expected to grow in New York City in 2017 and place 335 youth in paid internships across New York City’s five boroughs between the months of June and October. Goals for this time period are as follows:

  • At least 85% of 285 youth complete the internship
  • At least 65% of youth who complete the internships are offered a permanent part time or seasonal position (assuming an 85% completion rate, 65% is 185 youth) immediately following the end of the internship