The US branch of Starbucks has said that it is committed to supporting its staff by expanding its “Starbucks College Achievement Plan” which gives employees the chance to obtain a college degree, for free.
The Seattle-based coffee company launched its “Starbucks College Achievement Plan” with Arizona State University in June 2014 and currently offers its baristas two years of undergraduate tuition at the university, however, this will now be extended to four years, covering the entire cost of an online bachelor’s degree which can exceed $10,000 (£6,700).
Nearly 2,000 of the company’s workers have enrolled on the programme since June 2014, and Starbucks has said that it’s dedicated to supporting at least 25,000 staff over the next 10 years.
“The unfortunate reality is that too many Americans can no longer afford a college degree, particularly disadvantaged young people, and others are saddled with burdensome education debt,” said Howard Schultz, Chairman and Chief Executive of Starbucks. “We’re stronger as a nation when everyone is afforded a pathway to success.”
The coffee retailer also offers benefits including healthcare and stock options to its employees.
Employees who work at least 20 hours a week will be eligible for the full tuition fees, the equivalent of 80% of the company’s 180,000 staff in the US. Starbucks has also said that there is no obligation to stay with the company once students have graduated.
The coffee giant’s plans comes at a time in the US job market where major US restaurant chains and retailers, including McDonalds and Wal-Mart are raising their hourly wages and benefits to compete for the best employees.
Starbucks said that 70% of its workers currently do not have a bachelor’s degree.