It pays to be an educated employee at Starbucks, literally.
The company announced a new program to help its baristas earn an online college degree.
"Thank you so much Howard, it's a pleasure."
Starbucks employee Tammie Lopez personally thanked CEO Howard Shultz for the opportunity to attend college for free.
Howard Schultz/Starbucks CEO says, "This is not about PR. This is about the future of the company, what's doing right for our people."
Schultz was in New York to announce that starting this fall, Starbucks will help employees get an online bachelor's degree at a steep discount.
And they don't have to stay with the company after they finish.
Starbucks is partnering with Arizona State University.
Eligible workers can choose from more than 40 undergraduate online programs.
Freshman and sophomores could receive partial scholarships and full tuition reimbursement as juniors and seniors.
How important is a college degree these days, to you? Tammie: To me, very important.
Lopez has been working part–time a Starbucks while going to school for more than a year.
She plans to apply for the new program to study business.
Tammie Lopez/Starbucks Employee says, "I never thought I would be getting assistance and help that Starbucks has provided. It just never crossed my mind. And I think that's why it so mind blowing."
Dozens of corporations with hourly employees offer some kind of tuition assistance or discount – but the Starbucks plan is one of the most generous.
Howard Schultz/Starbucks CEO says, "We can't build a great company and we can't build a great enduring country if we constantly leave people behind."
Schultz says if Starbucks were a 20 chapter book — the company would only be at chapter 4 or 5. Only workers at Starbucks 8,200 company–operated stores are eligible and they have to work an average 20 hours per week.