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Posted By: Angela Salerno-Robin on September 25, 2020


McDonald's, in partnership with the International Youth Foundation, is improving equity in skills training and opportunities for youth across more than 30 community organizations, including HBCUs, reaching 100,000 young people globally through its Passport to Success Explorer program

McDonald’s Youth Opportunity initiative, aimed to reduce barriers to employment for two million young people by 2025, has extended the Passport to Success (PTS) Explorer digital curriculum to reach up to 100,000 young people from various non-profits, community organizations and post-secondary institutions supporting diverse communities during the COVID-19 pandemic. In partnership with the International Youth Foundation (IYF), the PTS Explorer digital curriculum provides youth the opportunity to learn valuable life skills, such as self-awareness and management, communication skills, healthy relationship building, and conflict management.

“As COVID-19 forced many young people out of the classroom, we knew we had great responsibility to do the right thing to ensure our most vulnerable youth were able to access education and professional development trainings,” said Monica Tijerina, Director, Global People Strategy, McDonald’s Corporation. “We worked with IYF to enhance the PTS in-person lessons and turned them into a game-based digital curriculum, ultimately opening it up to additional youth and partners across the globe”.

Together with our independent franchisees, McDonald’s has a longstanding commitment to education and professional development by providing training, education and career pathways to unlock the potential of restaurant employees. Yet, many young people face barriers to entry into the workplace and – through no fault of their own – are being left behind, unable to take advantage of employer-based education and training opportunities that exist. As a major employer of young people, McDonald’s has the potential and scale to help bridge this opportunity gap.

“During normal times, young people are three times more likely than adults to be unemployed,” says Susan Reichle, IYF’s President and CEO. “But in this pandemic, they’ve been hit even harder. This is an economic and social challenge that cannot be overcome alone. Now more than ever, non-profits, corporations, local organizations, and young people themselves need to come together to develop solutions. IYF’s partnership with McDonald’s to bring PTS Explorer to more young people at this unprecedented time is a proud example of how organizations can pivot together to make immediate and much-needed impact.”

“I am excited to see the McDonald’s PTS Explorer program being offered by our local Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and city partners to provide young people equitable skills training and opportunities that match their needs,” said Congresswoman Alma S. Adams (NC-12), founder and co-chair of the Congressional Bipartisan HBCU Caucus. “Where you are from should not determine where you end up in life, and opportunities like this will ensure young people have the tools needed to succeed in today’s economy.”

In addition to PTS Explorer, McDonald’s Youth Opportunity program is providing young people access to McDonald’s employment opportunities through customizable online applications and virtual career development opportunities, which include resume/job application workshops and career panels in Spanish and English with McDonald’s corporate employees.

“The partnership with McDonald’s and IYF provides our Affiliates with a great tool to work with Latinx youth in their communities - delivering invaluable life and job readiness skills through fun, engaging programs that will help them enter the workforce successfully,” said Peggy McLeod, Vice President Education Workforce Development and Evaluation, UnidosUS, one of McDonald’s PTS Explorer expansion partners.

IYF partners with organizations who serve the needs of youth who face multiple barriers to employment and education, including organizations like the National Urban League, Boys & Girls Clubs of Puerto Rico, Jobs for America’s Graduates (JAG) in the U.S. and Arcos Dorados’ partner Aldeas Infantiles SOS Mexico.

More than 430,000 Opportunity Youth have been hired as McDonald’s crew members since the program launched and more than 420,000 young people have been given access to training in markets across the globe including the U.S., Latin America, Italy, Hong Kong, Korea, Japan and many more. “You can tell the candidates that use this program are thoroughly prepared for their interviews”, said Vincent Hale, McDonald’s Owner/Operator who hires employees out of this program. “This is going to be the new wave of hiring and is the beginning of something that I think is going to be much bigger than what it is today.”

From the beginning, IYF included diverse youth in the product development process of the face-to-face and digital curriculum but has since dedicated additional resources to revise the program through a deepened lens of diversity and inclusion to modify some of the scenarios and group activities. Diverse youth from around the world weighed in on components of the game-based curriculum including the colors, avatar graphics, story design, themes and much more.

PTS Explorer is one of many company initiatives created to educating the next generation of youth and is aligned with our values of inclusion and community. The Archways to Opportunity program for crew gives eligible employees at participating U.S. restaurants the ability to earn a high school diploma, receive upfront college tuition assistance, access free education/career advising services and learn English as a second language. Other major scholarship programs include the HACER National Scholarships, Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) Black and Positively Golden Scholarships and McDonald’s/APIA Scholarship program for Asian and Pacific-Islander American students.

If you are interested in offering the Youth Opportunity PTS Explorer curriculum to young people you serve, please reach out to
About McDonald’s
McDonald’s is the world’s leading global foodservice retailer with over 38,000 locations in nearly 120 countries. Approximately 93% of McDonald’s restaurants worldwide are owned and operated by independent local business men and women. For more information, visit, or follow us on Twitter @McDonalds and Facebook at

About International Youth Foundation
The International Youth Foundation (IYF®) stands by, for, and with young people. Founded in 1990 through a generous grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, IYF is a global nonprofit with programs directly benefiting 7.7 million young people and operations spanning 100 countries so far. Together with local community-based organizations and a network of corporate, foundation, and multilateral partners, we connect young people with opportunities to transform their lives. We believe that educated, employed, engaged young people possess the power to solve the world’s toughest problems, and we focus our youth development efforts on three linked objectives: unlocking agency, driving economic opportunity, and making systems more inclusive. Our vision is to see young people inspired and equipped to realize the future they want. The International Youth Foundation: Transforming Lives, Together. To learn more about the International Youth Foundation, please join us at
Contact: Jonathan Mudd,
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