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Sunday, April 2, 2017
Starbucks Goes One Step Further in Supporting College for Employees
In 2014, Starbucks partnered up with Arizona State University (ASU) to create a program offering full tuition coverage to all of their employees. The program, called the College Achievement Plan, was made available to both part-time and full-time Starbucks employees.

Tuition is fully reimbursable by Starbucks, and in turn, ASU provides mentoring and tutorial support across a range of more than 60 undergraduate degrees. The assistance and coursework are available on-line, meaning that geography isn't a barrier to access.

The program is available to Starbucks' more than 15,000 employees, but has turned out to be challenging for students who are not otherwise eligible for college admission. A number of student hopefuls hadn't taken the SAT, didn't have a high enough GPA, or lacked requisite freshman coursework.

Last week, Starbucks and ASU announced an enhanced program, Pathways to Admission, which seeks to help employees overcome ineligibility issues. Under the new program ASU will offer additional tutoring and counseling in order to help employees complete freshman-level courses, as many times as is necessary. Starbucks will foot the bill.

Starbucks' stated goal is to have 25,000 college graduates by 2025. CEO Howard Schultz announced the new program at a recent shareholders' meeting, where he spoke of the company's moral commitment to strive to do more than simply reap profits. Educating its workforce is good for both the company, and the economy.

This is one in a long-line of progressive, employee-centered policies by Starbucks. The company is already renowned for its exemplary management-training program, benefits for part-time employees, as well as a stated commitment to hiring at-risk youth, veterans, refugees and people with disabilities.


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