Anyone who’s ever participated in modern-day society, however slightly, knows that Starbucks is the king of commercialized coffee. Now that Starbucks has made a deal with culture queen Oprah Winfrey to release Teavana® Oprah Chai Tea, they stand to “do for tea what [they] did for coffee,” according to Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz. Which is very plausible, since anything that’s within a five-hundred mile radius of Oprah sells like hotcakes. If everything goes as planned, Starbucks and Miss Winfrey (we can’t forget about that supremely-savvy businesswoman) stand to make a LOT of money. In related news, meteorologists reveal that the sky is, in fact, blue.
Capitalist cash cow that it is, Starbucks has been known to give their employees pretty decent perks, such as stocks in the company and benefits once they reach the age of retirement… but now it seems that the company is digging deeper into its pockets because it’s about to offer even more. Something priceless, in fact: a college education.
According to the company, it plans to subsidize the studies of many of their employees, more specifically paying for two years of college education through Arizona State University’s prolific online degree program so that many of its employees can graduate from a university. While only employees with junior or senior standing will have the entire cost of their tuition subsidized, freshmen and sophomores employees will be still eligible for financial assistance and partial scholarships from the company.
To qualify, employees will have to commit to working at least 20 hours a week, which is the same amount of hours needed to qualify for the other benefits they offer. Unlike many other companies that offer a similar kind of tuition reimbursement, Starbucks will not exclude new employees, or attach strings to the offer by requiring that they stick around for a given amount of time after completing their degree. That’s right: Starbucks is fully aware that, in helping their employees get educated, it might lose some who decide to move on from the company! In fact, that might be one of their intentions (they have to know that man can not live on the salary of a barista alone). This strikes us as the most caffeinated parental support system in existence.
U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has stressed the importance of the tuition subsidies Starbucks plans to foot since, according to Duncan, without a college degree these days “it’s hard to move, it’s hard to travel. Doors don’t open for you.”
Well, unless they’re held open by Starbucks.
“There’s no doubt, the inequality within the country has created a situation where many Americans are being left behind. The question for all of us is, should we accept that, or should we try and do something about it.”
Starbucks anticipates that several thousands of their employees will take part in the program over the next few years. Which means that there might be a slew of positions opening up with the company as their employees move on to greener pastures, newly-minted diplomas in hand (stimulating the economy, too?! That’s another gold Starbucks for you, Schultz!).
In other Starbucks news, by 2015 the more-than-just-a-coffee-shop coffee shop is planning to have wireless charging stations on it’s tables and counter tops, so start getting ready to break the leases on your apartments because, at that point, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t just move in.