TJX has developed community programs with many organizations to further strengthen our ties to local communities. These relationships can take on many forms and often include a combination of corporate sponsorships, product donations, Associate volunteerism and other support.
Preparing the Next Generation of Associates
Many of our community programs focus on youth and young adults, where we foster affiliations with schools, universities, and other groups to help prepare young people as they transition into the workforce. Two of our larger initiatives are the Youth Business Institute (YBI) in the U.S. and the Get Into Retail program in Europe.
YBI is an example of a big idea that started in one market and evolved over time. YBI was originally conceived in 1999 when the Company launched a pilot program for underprivileged youth in the Boston, Massachusetts area. The idea was simple: provide basic skills and training for success in school and in the workplace. By 2006, the program had evolved significantly to include a formal program agenda, Associate volunteers and two additional schools in Atlanta, Georgia.
Today, YBI is an 11-week, innovative, professional and personal development program that operates in 19 high schools, located in 12 U.S. cities and in Puerto Rico. We expect to expand the number of locations in the future. At YBI, over 300 TJX Associate volunteers teach high school students job readiness skills and expose them to career pathways relevant for entry into the retail workforce. The YBI course kicks off with workshops on time management and budgeting. In the weeks that follow, students are immersed in coursework and training for resume building and interview preparation. We also foster students’ career exploration through job shadowing of TJX Associates. At the end of the program, the students participate in a fashion show and graduation ceremony. Since 2012, YBI has awarded over $530,000 in scholarships to YBI students, graduated more than 800 high school students, and hired approximately 400 program graduates into part-time or full-time positions within the Company.
In Europe, we work with The Prince’s Trust, an organization that supports teens and young adults who are unemployed, struggling at school or otherwise at risk of exclusion from many opportunities. The Trust’s programs are designed to give vulnerable young people the practical and financial support needed to stabilize their lives and develop self-esteem and skills for work. We have developed a program with The Prince’s Trust called Get Into Retail, which recruits young people from The Prince’s Trust program and teaches them about career paths and working in retail as well as skills for interviewing and getting a job. Our program combines classroom-based training with a TJX store-based mentor, with the aim of offering these young people a job in a T.K. Maxx store. After a successful pilot in London in 2012, we expanded to other U.K. cities, including Birmingham, Belfast and Cardiff. We now have 14 Get Into Retail programs running across the U.K., educating over 150 young people each year. We have offered employment opportunities to many of the program participants following course completion, and expect to expand this program again next year.
In addition to those programs that focus on youth, some of our community programs emphasize empowerment and self-sufficiency for people who may face barriers to employment. TJX Community Relations and local T.J. Maxx and Marshalls stores partner with The Crisis Assistance Ministry of Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, and Jackets for Jobs, Inc., in Detroit, Michigan, two nonprofits dedicated to getting people in need back on the path to self-sufficiency. With the help of local Marshalls and T.J. Maxx Associates, TJX funding and donated merchandise, these groups operate “free stores” that are stocked with interview and business attire for program participants to shop. Local job placement professionals are also available to help with resume writing and interviewing skills. To date, thousands of people have been helped by these programs.