With Starbucks’s growth and more than 1 million active duty members of the U.S. military transitioning to civilian life in the coming years, Starbucks sees the commitment as a strategic form of outreach to the military community. The coffee chain will also attempt to engage active duty spouses, a group who faces an unemployment rate more than double the national average.
“The values we are creating for shareholders is tied to the values that guide us as an organization,” said Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz in a statement. “As I look at the opportunity ahead of us, we’re going to need to hire men and women with like-minded values and the right job skills in order to continue our current levels of growth.”
Currently, Starbucks offers a specialized mentoring program for veterans, provided via the Armed Forces Network (AFN). The AFN supports transitioning military by ensuring new hires have access to the information and resources they need to become successful. With the commitment to increase military hires, Starbucks additionally will expand the mentoring program.
“Companies that fail to engage the military community to identify quality job candidates are doing themselves a tremendous disservice,” Marjorie James, executive director of Hire America’s Heroes, said in a statement. “Veterans and military spouses are valued members of mission driven teams and working with an organization like Starbucks gives them an opportunity to establish a long term career that builds on that purpose in pursuit of a common goal.”
In addition to adjusting internal hiring infrastructure, Starbucks is utilizing community stores to support services members and their families. Starbucks plans to open five community stores in U.S. joint base locations in the coming years. These stores will donate a portion of each transaction to local nonprofits dedicated to meeting the needs of service members.
Alongside these long term changes, Starbucks is offering all active duty and military spouses in the U.S. a free coffee on Veterans Day, Nov. 11.