Many companies offer their thanks to veterans on Veterans Day. Some even give out discounts or freebies. But when it comes to actually making a difference in the lives of veterans, few organizations can compete with Starbucks.
The Seattle-based coffee giant recently announced it is extending its 100% tuition coverage benefit to the families of veterans and military reservists who work for the company at least 20 hours per week.
Through a partnership with Arizona State University (ASU), Starbucks has been offering to cover 100% of employee tuition since mid-2014. The program has proven extremely popular, with 63% of new hires expressing interest in it and more than 4,800 employees now enrolled.
The new expansion allows the spouses and dependents of veterans and reservists employed by Starbucks to participate. This can mean a big change in the affordability of higher education for military families, and will make the company a very attractive employment option for those transitioning out of the armed forces.
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More Military Benefits
In addition to the extension of tuition coverage, Starbucks now also gives employees in the Reserves or National Guard up to 80 hours of paid leave for service obligations. This can significantly decrease the financial burden of such obligations, which generally require Reservists and National Guardsmen to miss at least two weeks of work annually.
Starbucks is also planning to increase the number of Military Family Stores to 30 by the end of 2016. These Starbucks locations, which are run by veterans and military spouses living in military-friendly communities, donate a part of every purchase to nonprofit veterans programs.
A Major Milestone
Two years ago, Starbucks committed to hiring at least 10,000 veterans and military spouses by 2018. Along with announcing its new and expanded benefit programs, the company also revealed it is more than halfway to this goal. After building connections with dozens of military bases, attending hundreds of military job fairs and greatly expanding the Starbucks Armed Forces Network, Starbucks now employs 5,500 veterans and military spouses.
These programs and benefits have established Starbucks as a veteran-friendly workplace. They’ve created more dedicated employees, a better-educated workforce and plenty of prestige in the military community. Which goes to show a company that looks after its employees looks after itself.