Starbucks is doing a lot more than just changing its cups for the holiday season. The company announced on Monday that it plans to help veterans and their families by offering an amazing program for them.
The company, known for its frappuccinos and cookies, has announced its plan to offer free tuition to children and spouses of its employees who have worked in the United States military. The announcement broadens the company’s College Achievement Plan initiative, which was kickstarted in June 2014.
Free tuition is a part of a much larger initiative made by the company to embrace and protect those who protect our freedom: the U.S. military, both active members and veterans.
Currently, veterans who work for the company are able to get a degree through the company’s program and more than 4,000 Starbucks workers have already signed up. However, Starbucks spokeswoman Laurel Harper said that some employees have said that the program could be further expanded to meet their families’ needs. Veterans are already able to receive a tuition-free degree under the G.I. Bill. The program now provides tuition-free education at Arizona State University for both veterans and their families. This program is available to both former and current employees of Starbucks.
“Our veterans shared with us that the benefit is generous, but many weren’t taking advantage of it because they had already pursued a bachelor’s degree,” Harper said. “That’s when we began the work with Arizona State University to enhance the benefit to make it more relevant to our veteran and active duty partners.”
Many people are speculating whether Starbucks’ move to expand its military support will smooth over the company’s tensions with its conservative critics who blasted the company’s decision to release a “minimalist” holiday cup.
In addition to the announcement about expanding its College Achievement Plan initiative, Starbucks also announced that it has surpassed the halfway mark on its goal to hire 10,000 service members by 2018. The company has already employed 5,500 current and former member of the U.S. military.
“We have a responsibility as a nation to honor our veterans and their families for their service and sacrifice, but it goes beyond saying thank you, we must put our thanks into action and collectively help those who are making the transition from military to civilian life,” said Howard Schultz, Starbucks’ chief executive and chairman.
He continued, “Not only do we have a moral duty to engage veterans once they leave the service, we know that doing so in a meaningful way will ultimately strengthen our nation.”
The unemployment rate among veterans was 6 percent last year, but has decreased to only 5 percent this year. The unemployment rate among veterans is comparable to the nation’s unemployment rate, which is also around 5 percent currently. However, many see those who served our nation being out of work as a travesty. Starbucks aims to change that, one job at a time.
Starbucks will offer a free tall brewed coffee on Veterans Day for all active duty service members and their families.