Starbucks finds smart way to attract and retain workers
If you want another reason why people want to work for Starbucks, look no further than the company’s recently announced College Achievement Plan. Billed as a "first-of-its-kind program," the idea is to help thousands of part- and full-time workers at Starbucks to get their degrees without the strings typically attached to most employers’ tuition reimbursement plans.
In short, employees working at least 20 hours a week at company-operated Starbucks, Evolution Fresh, La Boulange, Seattle’s Best Coffee and Teavana stores may choose from more than 40 undergraduate programs offered through Arizona State University’s (ASU) online program.
Starbucks’ employees admitted to ASU as a junior or senior will earn full tuition reimbursement for each semester of full-time coursework they complete toward any of the 40 bachelor’s degrees offered by the school. Freshmen and sophomores will be eligible for a partial tuition scholarship and need-based financial aid for two years of full-time study (est. at $6,500). Workers will have no commitment to remain with the company past graduation.
"Supporting our partners’ ambitions is the very best investment Starbucks can make," said Howard Schultz, chairman, president and CEO of Starbucks, in a statement. "Everyone who works as hard as our partners do should have the opportunity to complete college, while balancing work, school and their personal lives."
According to Starbucks, 70 percent of its employees are either current or aspiring students. Michael Crow, president of ASU, expects upwards of 15,000 employees of the company to enroll in the university’s online degree program.
"Starbucks is going where no other major corporation has gone," Jamie Merisotis, president and CEO of the Lumina Foundation, a group focused on enrolling and graduating more students from college, told The Seattle Times. "For many of these Starbucks employees, an online university education is the only reasonable way they’re going to get a bachelor’s degree."
- Starbucks College Achievement Plan – Starbucks
- Starbucks Offers Full Tuition Reimbursement for Partners (Employees) to Complete a Bachelor’s Degree – Starbucks
- Starbucks will pay tuition for many employees to finish college – The Seattle Times (tiered sub.)
- Starbucks to Pay U.S. Workers to Get Degree From ASU Online – Bloomberg News
How will the Starbucks College Achievement Plan affect employee recruitment and retention at the company? Do you think Starbucks’ program will serve as a model for other companies or do you see a different approach gaining more corporate converts?