Wednesday, June 18th, 2014

Starbucks Serves Up College Opportunity to Baristas

Starbucks Serves Up College Opportunity to Baristas

Partnering with Arizona State University, Starbucks claims it will offer financial assistance to employees who work at least 20 hours a week.

Besides serving the perfect brew, Starbucks wants its baristas to be educated, and not just so they can explain the serving sizes that sometimes baffle the public. In a move that could cost the coffee giant millions of dollars a year, the company is implementing the Starbucks College Achievement Plan to help more than 100,000 employees pay for a college degree.

Partnering with Arizona State University, Starbucks claims it will offer financial assistance to employees who work at least 20 hours a week. The assistance will apply to a bachelor’s degree via an ASU Online program. The Starbucks College Achievement plan will offer free tuition for juniors and seniors to complete a degree,and at least 50 per cent for freshmen and sophomores. With somewhere around 70 per cent of its employees being students or wanting to go to school, picking up the tuition tab could get costly.

Adding to the company’s corporate image of being socially responsible and resulting in happier employees, the generous move also hits an emotion chord with its providers. Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, as well as Michael Crow, president of online degree programs at Arizona State University, both know well the struggle of the under-privileged, having grown up in low income families. Although they both managed to get a college education, they realize that many today will not have that opportunity.

“The idea is to break this downward cycle of class-based education,” Michael Crow explained, in which low-income families have a much lower chance of seeing their kids earn a degree compared with high income families.

Howard Schults seemed aware of the financial risks involved with the decision and the likelihood that graduates would eventually move on to work elsewhere, but said, “The only way to provide long-term value for shareholders is to create long-term value for people.” He added, “We’ve have the strongest performing stock in our peer group for a decade, and we have a significant competitive advantage: human capital, you.”

Whether for publicity, corporate image, or pure altruism, the offer might give a fresh slant to the notion of the higher-educated serving coffee. Perhaps a few thankful baristas will stick around to show their gratitude.

Editorial Staff
Author: Editorial Staff
Editorial Staff at STUDY Magazine is a team of industry professionals.
Post a comment
  1. Patricia Caroca Says:

    Hello there,

    This is fantastic and I think they are honouring the person inside the worker. I also believe they will achieve great a vast loyalty as people will support companies that are truly trying their best to benefit others. Another level of good Coffee Karma – Love it!!!

    Do you think this is happening in Canada yet, as I am coming to you from Edmonton,Alberta~

    Cheers. Patricia

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