With a (U-6) unemployment rate amongst 18-29 year old African American millennials at 15.2%, young people are getting left behind, or worse, ending up in jail. According to the NAACP, African Americans now constitute nearly 1 million of the total 2.3 million incarcerated population.

Well, the answer certainly isn't simple and, in all likelihood, will take time to implement. In the meantime, two ​businessmen in the mostly minority South LA, Karim Webb and Ed Barnett of PCF ​​Restaurant Management, have taken it upon themselves to make a difference where they can. Even if it is mentoring one kid at a time.

“Part of our mission is to be a good community partner, provide job training and employment opportunities to the young people in the areas we serve," says Barnett.

young workers
Edward Barnett (L) and Karim Webb (R). Photo: Greg Shappell​

Together, Webb and Barnett have created a successful formula for ​developing diverse young workers in underserved areas where they teach young men and women how to be independent, work hard and keep hope. Using their three Buffalo Wild Wings franchise locations ​(with three additional in development) ​as a teaching ground, the pair aim to impart real transferable skills that will give these young diverse workers the necessary tools to succeed in life. Giving them a brighter future by keeping them out of jail and off of welfare, which will in turn save US citizens tax money. Ultimately, it's a win, win. ​"​If we can connect to employees' innate will to succeed, we can create something great. Show them you care about them succeeding as much as they do," says Webb. 

What is even more impressive is that Karim and Ed are making a profit doing it. All three of their BWW locations have consistently outpaced regional and national sales trends within the industry and have produced double-digit sales increases. The Baldwin Hills location was recognized for achieving the highest sales percentage increase of any Buffalo Wild Wings in 2012, 2013 and 2014, respectively.

young workers
Photo: Greg Shappell​

The pair strive to ensure their restaurants reflect the diverse areas they're in. ​In an interview with Nation's Restaurant News, Karim was quoted as saying, "If I go into a restaurant in a community that I know is diverse and I don't see people that look like my kids, I take note of that." An important fact both take to heart.

Karim and Ed have three additional BWW locations in development and continue to be an integral part of each community they move into. If you’d like to support them and their work within the community please check out www.lawildwings.com for upcoming community events.

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