Just in time for Veterans Day, Starbucks Corp. (NASDAQ:SBUX) has issued a new patriotic promise.
According to Reuters, the coffee chain said that it will commit to hiring at least 10,000 veterans and spouses of active military members in five years. CEO Howard Schultz said to the news service that these individuals have unique experiences and skill sets, and that is why he is promising to offer them part-time jobs as baristas; it’s also why he is willing to give them the opportunity to employ their skills by trying out management, leadership, and administrative positions.
Former U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates, now a Starbucks director, explained to Reuters that military veterans often have more talent than recruiters even realize, because “They bring an understanding of other cultures and they’re accustomed to working with diverse and international partners.”
That’s especially important for Starbucks because it operates in a number of different countries and is constantly working to provide the best experience to each of its customers in their own respective regions, according to the company. Veterans’ experience is vital to helping Starbucks tackle language and culture barriers. Gates said to Reuters, “This demographic represents one of the most underutilized talent pools in our country.”
The hiring announcement conveniently comes just days before the U.S. celebrates Veterans Day on November 11, and Starbucks’s new effort will join the many that have already been orchestrated by a multitude of domestic companies. Veteran unemployment is an issue that has plagued the U.S. for decades, and many high-profile corporations such as Wal-Mart Stores (NYSE:WMT) have worked to lead the effort to welcome the country’s vets into their companies.
In addition to the 10,000 veterans and spouses that Starbucks plans to hire within the next five years, the world’s largest coffee chain also announced Wednesday that its five cafes on or near military bases will share a portion of each sale with nonprofit organizations that help veterans re-enter the workforce. Reuters reports that the stores near bases will donate 10 cents from every transaction, with a minimum annual gift of $100,000. Donations will benefit Goodwill Industries International Inc. programs, Operation Good Jobs, and Vested in Vets.
As of now, Starbucks maintains that it already employs “thousands” of veterans and their spouses and supports them through its existing mentoring program via the Armed Forces Network, but the chain is apparently ready to help even more.