Investing in Youth Together: Juma and FedEx

FedEx is a globally recognized company–most of us have received a package or sent one via their familiar purple and orange branded trucks. But have you ever stopped to wonder what kind of personnel it takes to make all of those deliveries? Across America, FedEx employs hundreds of thousands of people in positions ranging from direct parcel handling to warehouse management to logistics. And thanks to a strong partnership between Juma and FedEx Freight, Juma youth are finding out firsthand how to take advantage of those career opportunities.

Juma and FedEx Freight work together in a number of ways–FedEx Freight grants help to fund stipends for Juma Atlanta’s YouthConnect program, FedEx Freight volunteers act as teachers and mentors for Juma youth, and FedEx Freight is also a Juma employer partner, offering priority interviews and hiring opportunities for youth who successfully complete the YouthConnect program. 

Since the partnership began in early 2020, volunteers from FedEx’s Pride Plus group and Black Professionals Network have spent over 200 hours working with Juma youth on skills like resume writing and interviewing. Their most popular session–titled Ghosting Your Employer–is a primer for young people on best practices for transitioning jobs. The real world skills youth learn from these workshops can then be put into practice when FedEx Freight offers priority interview consideration to Juma Youth.

“It was so meaningful to hear [a Juma youth’s] excitement when the call came through and how prepared she felt after the workshops,” recalls Robert Lewis Jr., Juma Atlanta Site Director, about the first Juma Atlanta youth to be offered a job with FedEx Freight. After attending mock interview workshops with FedEx Freight employees and gaining the confidence she needed to pursue a real interview, the youth was offered an entry level role as a forklift operator. Recounting her interview experience to Robert, she relayed how, thanks to the practice interviews she’d experienced in workshops, it ‘felt like a conversation and not an examination,’ giving her the confidence to express herself well and ask questions about the role.

Forklift operators–a skill FedEx Freight teaches internally–can eventually earn up to $21/hourly, giving young people who are hired at FedEx Freight via the partnership a straightforward path to a middle wage career. FedEx Freight hires employees as young as eighteen with as little as a high school diploma, giving young people who do not have a four year degree a chance to gain financial stability without a costly education. And with the skills they learn in Juma’s YouthConnect program as well as guidance and mentorship from current FedEx Freight employees, Juma Youth are primed to succeed in those roles.

“The most rewarding thing is making the connection with a company that is international that  really wants to invest in Juma and Juma youth,” says Robert. In the future, Juma and FedEx Freight hope to expand the partnership to encompass Juma’s other five sites and offer FedEx Freight’s programming, mentorship opportunities, and ultimately, hiring opportunities, to Juma young people across the country.