Coffee empire Starbucks plans to announce an unusual partnership with Arizona State University Monday to pay for the (online) college education of its 135,000-odd U.S. employees—even the ones who leave.
The program is open to any of the company's 135,000 United States employees, provided they work at least 20 hours a week and have the grades and test scores to gain admission to Arizona State. For a barista with at least two years of college credit, the company will pay full tuition; for those with fewer credits it will pay part of the cost, but even for many of them, courses will be free, with government and university aid.
The offer extends to employees of Starbucks-operated subsidiaries—Teavana, La Boulange, Evolution Fresh, and Seattle's Best—too. The program has been dubbed the "Starbucks College Achievement Plan" which Arizona State says will come with the threat of "an innovative retention model to support the unique needs of working students." From Arizona State's release:
Partners will have a dedicated enrollment coach, financial aid counselor and academic advisor to support them through graduation. The program also will include adaptive learning services to help students progress at the right pace for them, networking and community-building opportunities and additional resources to help students plan their educations.
Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz is forthcoming about his company essentially paying for employees to eventually leave. "I believe it will lower attrition, it'll increase performance, it'll attract and retain better people," he tells the Times.
No word on what everyone who toiled making frappucinos at Starbucks during college before this program gets, aside from the pangs of indignation.
[Image via AP]