Creative youth employment ideas needed – Community Chest

Graduates gather during the Hire a Graduate Day of action march on May 17, 2017 in Tshwane. (Gallo Images)

Graduates gather during the Hire a Graduate Day of action march on May 17, 2017 in Tshwane. (Gallo Images)

Cape Town – Creative ideas need to be found to decrease youth unemployment in a labour market which favours highly experienced employees, development company Community Chest has said.

“The high demand for skilled labour means that those with a post-secondary qualification are far more likely to find employment than those with only a matric certificate,” Community Chest CEO Lorenzo Davids said.

“However, while there are vacancies within the labour market for skilled people, we have to look at creative big ideas in innovative spaces such as coding, water challenges, climate regulation and urbanisation for opportunities to create new ‘big idea’ employment opportunities.”

Young people between 15 and 24 should constitute “that starry-eyed section of a society that’s eager to apply their newly-acquired skills and qualifications, embark on their careers and embrace the future by making their mark”.

“However, if they continue to hit a brick wall, they’re bound to become frustrated, discouraged and halt their job applications. To top this, there’s a real fear that they’ll join a cycle of constant unemployment and poverty. It is in this challenge that we have to find the opportunities to create a new cycle of sustainable job creation.”

Big ideas and not “random piece-meal activities” are necessary to tackle youth unemployment in South Africa – rated the fourth worst performing country in terms of unemployment, the organisation said.

‘Big ideas’ 

RSA, ranked among the worst along with Spain, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Greece and Macedonia, has a youth unemployment rate at 52.6% according to World Atlas. With 67% of the country’s population said to be younger than 35, it is vital that government, the private sector, and NGOs “begin to talk about big ideas” to tackle unemployment, Community Chest said.

“Moreover, Stats SA’s recently released Quarterly Labour Force Survey Q1: 2017 indicated that approximately 58% of the unemployed in South Africa are younger than 35.  This has pushed up SA’s youth unemployment rate by 1.6%.”

According to the organisation, the country’s overall unemployment rate of 27.7% has increased to its highest in 14 years – with Stats SA finding that the unemployment rate remained high among those with an education level of less than matric at 33.1%.

The unemployment rate among graduates remained at 7.3%.

The organisation annually awards promising pupils from six schools in poorer Cape Town communities with study bursaries worth R100 000 each in mathematics, science, and technology.

The school also receives mathematics and science kits to facilitate learning and improve their performance in these subjects as part of a long-term project.

It also assists supports and mentors the bursary recipients while they study.

Economic recession, racial and gender inequalities, and imbalanced access to the labour market are cited for the grim youth unemployment rate. Education was cited as a key solution to the issue.

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Price Chopper Celebrates 5 Years of Insights Community

Northeastern grocery chain Price Chopper has been working on positioning itself as a more customer-centric chain in recent years, whether through rebranding its private label or revamping its namesake banner and its marketing materials under the new Market 32 fresh-focused format. Critical to the  grocer’s efforts in this space is its insight community, which is about to celebrate its fifth year of operation.

The Schenectady, N.Y.-based grocer’s Food for Thought community is powered by the Sparq 3 engine from Vision Critical, a Vancouver, British Columbia-based provider of cloud-based customer intelligence platforms. The customer intelligence platform introduces the concept of Relationship Memory, which offers the ability to connect what retailers already know about their customers with attitudinal data collected from an insight community, and to use that information to learn more, faster than ever.

Here’s how Relationship Memory works: A grocer invites customers to join its community and build a profile. It then connects that profile to transactional and behavioral customer data, searches and recalls what it already knows to ask more focused questions, and engages members in ongoing activities to uncover attitudinal insight. Afterward, it learns more through smarter reporting and analytics, and then shares findings with memorable and impactful reports and stories.

But the makeup of the community wasn’t ideal when Sam Trimboli took it over in 2013. As consumer insight specialist with Price Chopper, he noticed that the community wasn’t focused on all of the right people: The previous consumer insights department originally set it up with the intent of talking to just the “very best” customers.

“I changed the makeup of the community to … also [have] representation of middle-of-the-road customers or not-so-great customers,” he tells Progressive Grocer. “I wanted to do that because it’s definitely very important to know what the people who really love us think, but it’s also equally important to know what the people who don’t love us as much think, because that’s a huge opportunity for us to better meet their needs.”

Currently, Food for Thought boasts 5,000 members who can be called upon for any insights needed, from assisting with explaining the inexplicable – like when a separate tool shows low scores in customer perception of produce – to one-off ad hoc stories asking something simple such as “What tools are you using to buy groceries that you weren’t five years ago?”

“The best thing is that it allows us to make decisions a lot quicker than we would be able to in a more traditional approach to research,” Trimboli says. “For example, I could send out a study about something, and two days later, I could have 1,500 or 2,000 responses, which is really great if you want to find out insights really quickly.”

These insights have been used to help the grocer:

  • Improve marketing materials – In 2015, Price Chopper began its massive project to rebrand stores under the Market 32 banner, a new format offering healthier food choices and a better shopping experience. In tandem with that effort, the grocer decided to revisit its flier design, as a huge part of its customer base – especially Baby Boomers – still use flyers regularly. By engaging the community, Price Chopper determined what should and shouldn’t be in the flier, and has generated a 5 percent increase in customer traffic since the relaunch.
  • Successfully launch and relaunch brands – The Market 32 rebrand left Price Chopper with an opportunity to re-examine its private brands and consider rebranding them. Feedback from Food for Thought members revealed that an earlier version of the company’s brand caused some confusion, leading decision-makers to uncover more effective ways of communicating the new brand, tweaking packaging and messaging, and then launching the new brand in 2016. Early results show accelerated growth, with one line of snack items, for instance, enjoying a 7 percent sales increase post-rebrand.
  • Identify unmet needs – New product ideas at Price Chopper are inspired by a deeper understanding of the customer journey. For instance, the insight community recently revealed that many shoppers, particularly Millennials, find cooking with certain types of meat intimidating. In response, the grocer’s meat department piloted a meal kit type of product enabling shoppers to get a ready-to-cook meal in a complete package.

Ultimately, the Food for Thought community has helped the grocer develop a better relationship with many of the 5,000 members – superfans or not. According to Trimboli, his interactions with these people is what grew his survey response rate to 53 percent over the years.

“I think a lot of that has come from just over time, being able to put kind of a face behind Price Chopper,” he says. “In a lot of communications I do with community members, I’ll even include my picture like I’ll sign my name. It’s not just like you’re talking to a faceless corporation, and I’ve found that to be really good at driving up overall engagement and participation.”


Utah Web Designer at Utah Sites Give Back to the Community He Grew Up In

Utah Sites is a search engine optimization and web design company in Utah whose owners have roots in the Beehive State. Their office is a mix of modern styling with vibrant splashes of orange color – the company’s calling card. A “splash” is what the company is making outside of the office in their local community, and the web design industry. Utah Sites’ transparent communication and efforts to give back to the community has resulted in a whirlwind of exposure for a recent good deed.

Damon Burton, President of Utah Sites web design company, was looking for ways to give back to the community. Giving a donation to benefit the kids in the same school district was Burton’s way of giving back to the community that nurtured him.

Having grown up in the community benefiting from free or reduced programs throughout his K-12 school years, Burton was familiar with the value of school lunch programs. That familiarity is what led the business owner to donate approximately $2,000 towards paying off all delinquent lunch balances at all seventeen Title I schools in Davis County; a donation that helped nearly 300 families.

The positive message has spread throughout the country as different media outlets featured the donation. Coverage included local media outlets:

  • Fox 13
  • Standard-Examiner
  • KSL
  • KUTV

Some of the local stories were syndicated and brought the donation to the national spotlight, including the AP, and more.

“I can’t even begin to imagine the impact you just made on those kids’ and families lives. I had no idea doing something like this was even possible,” messaged a Chicago resident to Burton.

Burton remarks on such comments. “The media exposure of this donation is an eye-opener for me and many more people. It has been a beautiful thing to witness what this donation has inspired in others. I’ve had people message me from a dozen different states and even internationally saying that the donation has opened their minds to new possibilities in how they can help others.”

Burton and Utah Sites plan on continuing to give back to the community. To learn more about the donation or for other ways to help Utah communities, visit

About Utah Sites

Utah Sites web design company in Layton, Utah. This group of Davis County website designers offers affordable, effective website development with a refreshingly personal approach to communicating with their web design customers.

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Facebook Unveils New Community Help, Safety Check, Donation and Non-Profit Partnership Tools

The new Facebook features for November 2016 include community help, safety check, an expanded fundraiser features, and nonprofit partnerships.

Facebook (NASDAQ: FB) recently unveiled some new tools as part of its Live featureat the social network’s first Social Good Forum held on 17 November in New York.

The new tools include community help, safety check, an expanded fundraiser features, and nonprofit partnerships.

New Facebook Features for November 2016

Naomi Gleit, VP Social Good at Facebook, said the new tools are designed to “empower our community to do more good in the world and help keep them safe.”

Gleit detailed the updates and new features in a post on the official Facebook News blog:

  • Community Help, a new feature that lets you ask for or offer help, including shelter, food and supplies after a natural disaster
  • Safety Check, a simple way to let friends and family know you’re okay during a crisis, will now be triggered entirely by our community, not Facebook
  • Expanding Fundraisers so people can raise money for more than 750,000 nonprofits and add a donate button to Live videos and posts
  • Nonprofit partnerships with Movember this month and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation on Giving Tuesday

Mark Zuckerberg added in a related video post that ultimately the motivation for creating these tools is threefold. It is to try to prevent bad things from happening. It is to try to help out when something bad is happening. And finally, it is to provide ongoing help after something bad has happened.

Small businesses can leverage Facebook’s new tools to do more social good themselves, including fundraise on behalf of U.S.-based 501(c)3 nonprofits to help out those in need, donate or collect donations for worthy causes like women’s health, and more.

“We’re inspired by how much good comes from connecting on Facebook but we know we can do more,” Gleit stressed in the Newsroom post.

Image: Facebook

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