On the morning of June 16, 2014 in a company meeting in Manhattan, Starbucks’ billionaire CEO, Howard Schultz, made history when he announced that his company will pay for THOUSANDS of workers, including baristas who work over 2o hours per week, to get a Bachelor’s degree through Arizona State University’s online program. This program will provide a large portion of Starbucks’ over 135,000 employees with the chance to receive a free collegiate education and a chance at a better quality of living.
Employees with two years of college education are eligible for tuition reimbursement and those without will receive assistance averaging about $6,500 per semester. As proof that this is not just a simple ploy to get employees to stay with the company, no worker is required to stay once they receive their degree.
If any QSR (quick service restaurant) were to roll out such an amazing and innovative program, it would be Starbucks, who has logn offered health insurance and stock options to employees who work at least 20 hours per week.
Schultz is the first in his family to attend college and stresses the importance of education, especially for your adults who come from low-income backgrounds where there is only a 9% chance of obtaining a college degree. ASU’s online program is one of the largest in the country, with a current undergraduate class of around 6,700. Tuition prices per online credit average around $500, so a full semester of 12 credits would equal $6,000.
Starbucks’ employees will be able to register for classes beginning August 15 and classes will start in October. Schultz hopes these efforts will help lower turnover rates within the company while increasing performance and hiring and retaining top talent.
Kudos to Schultz and Starbucks for being pioneers in their industry.