REEF Technology plans to hire more than 1,000 employees in the Miami area and it is launching a program to double down on hiring from underserved communities, the Miami-based tech unicorn announced today.
That will grow its local workforce by at least 42%. REEF is already one of South Florida’s largest employers, with 2,400 employees in the Miami area. REEF will do the hiring over the next 3 years for roles spanning nearly every division within the company, including R&D and business operations, and across specialties such as engineering, real estate, business development, culinary operations and fulfillment.
“We are proud to work with REEF to invest in our local economy and workforce by bringing over a thousand full-time, good-paying jobs to our county,” said Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava, in a statement. “Companies like REEF are working to build better communities by establishing a pipeline of opportunities for people from underserved areas, and by collaborating across nonprofit, academia and government to invest in our local workforce.”
In conjunction with the hiring plans, REEF announced it is launching a national effort called the NBRHD Career Initiative to double down on its commitment to provide job opportunities to individuals from underserved communities, and it is rolling it out first in Miami.
The program will partner with nonprofit, academic and government programs that focus on local workforce development to create a customized interviewing and hiring process for REEF. In each city, the communities REEF will support will differ, but nationally the NBRHD Career Initiative will be focused on veterans and military spouses, opportunity youth, BIPOC individuals, women/femme-identifying, and formerly incarcerated individuals, the company said.
REEF is launching the program in Miami and plans to expand it to Chicago and Austin in the coming weeks. “We are proud to launch the NBRHD Career Initiative that will create opportunities in communities that are too often passed over and better ensure that our employees represent the neighborhoods in cities where we operate,” said REEF CEO and co-founder Ari Ojalvo, in the press announcement.
In Miami, the NBRHD Career Initiative will work with Florida International University, Miami Dade College, Lotus House, Camillus House, Chapman Partnership, CareerSource, LEAP, Fruits of Charity, and Miami Community Ventures (a Miami-Dade Beacon Council Foundation Initiative) to provide access to job placement and training with opportunities for advancement and career-track roles. Full-time REEF employees are eligible for benefits including medical insurance, dental insurance and paid time off, the company said.
“We are looking to expand our research and development in the Miami-area, testing new verticals and models here in Miami, before we roll them out nationwide. Working with exceptional local workforce development programs, through the NBRHD Career Initiative, will help us continue to hire from diverse and underserved communities while further cultivating Miami as a world-class innovation hub,” said REEF co-founder and SVP of product, Philippe Saint-Just.
As Miami continues its work to establish itself as a leading tech hub, job creation is a key indicator of that success, said Miami Mayor Francis Suarez. “REEF has been an invaluable partner for the city and a pillar of our progress in evolving Miami into a thriving tech hub,” he said.
Building on the “15-minute city” concept in urban redevelopment, REEF is reimagining the common parking lot to achieve smart, sustainable urban living. It transforms underutilized urban spaces into neighborhood hubs that connect people to locally curated goods, services and experiences, all within easy reach.
With access to over 5,000 parking lots and garages as its infrastructure and a global workforce of 18,000 people, the homegrown Miami tech company is the largest operator of mobility, logistics hubs and neighborhood kitchens in the United States. In Miami, there are 15 of these hubs so far.
REEF had already started building out its proximity-as-a-service model before the pandemic, including its Neighborhood Kitchens platform, but COVID-19 added to the urgency. “Overnight, our neighborhoods became our whole world and REEF’s vision of connecting the world to your block mattered more than ever,” said Ojalvo, in an interview with Refresh earlier this year.“Our teams fired on all cylinders from kitchens to parking to logistics, all to create access to essential services within a biking or walking distance from where you live,” Ojalvo said.
With local restaurants feeling the brunt of the pandemic, Reef essentially condensed a whole year’s worth of planned growth in just a few months, he said. In early January, the company and its REEF Neighborhood Kitchens unit announced a $1 million NBRHD Restaurant Development Program, which aims to help local restaurants scale their delivery business. In June, REEF partnered with Joby to help bring air taxis to Miami and other markets in the next few years.
To fund its huge mission, REEF Technology raised $700 million from SoftBank, Mubadala Capital and other investors last November. At the same time, with Oaktree Capital Management’s infrastructure arm, REEF launched a $300 million fund, called Neighborhood Property Group, to acquire more strategic real estate assets. REEF is also one of Florida’s rare “unicorns,” privately-held companies valued at more an $1 billion.
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