Starbucks Sends Workers To College

Fresh off a controversial news cycle that was fairly critical of CEO Howard Schultz’s #racetogether campaign, Starbucks has announced that it will expand its tuition program for employees.

The program was previously available only to college juniors and seniors, but now any employee who works at least 20 hours a week at h will be eligible for full reimbursement of tuition. The catch is that students must enroll at Arizona State University’s online program in order to take advantage.

CEO Howard Schultz said,

"Everyone deserves a chance at the American dream. The unfortunate reality is that too many Americans can no longer afford a college degree, particularly disadvantaged young people, and others are saddled with burdensome education debt. By giving our partners access to four years of full tuition coverage, we will provide them a critical tool for lifelong opportunity."

The original program was introduced last June, and since then more than 2,000 people have enrolled. The U.S. Education Secretary, Arne Duncan, said of the program,

The announcement from Starbucks and ASU is another win for students. Partnerships like this one show how innovative strategies can expand access to college for thousands of students.

On top of this, Starbucks has also made a commitment to hiring 10,000 underprivileged young people, what they are calling “Opportunity Youth .” Specifically, they are targeting the six million young people (ages 16-24) who are neither working nor in school, offering them jobs and a pathway to education.

Likely Starbucks is hoping that PR around this program will overshadow the failed Race Together campaign and recast the chain in a more positive light. So far, it seems to be working.

Meanwhile, McDonald’s is trying out a similar strategy, what it calls, “Archways to Opportunity.”

Full story: Starbucks Expands College Tuition Program