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Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

Starbucks offers to pay workers’ tuitions: What are the best places for teens to work?

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Starbucks has announced that it will help pay for college for students who work at least 20 hours a week in one of their company-owned stores.

From The Associated Press:

“Starbucks is giving its baristas a shot at an online college degree, an unusual benefit in an industry where higher education is often out of reach for workers.

The coffee chain is partnering with Arizona State University to make an online undergraduate degree available at a steep discount to any of its 135,000 U.S. employees who work at least 20 hours a week.

The program underscores the predicament of many workers who earn low wages, don’t have much job security and often hold down more than one job. It also highlights the stark disparities in advancement opportunities between the rich and poor, and how a traditional college education remains a near impossibility for so many.

At an event in New York City on Monday, CEO Howard Schultz told an audience of about 340 Starbucks workers and their guests that the issue was personal because he was the first in his family to attend college.

“I could care less about marketing. This is not about PR,” he said of the cynicism he’s already encountered about the program.

U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan also appeared on stage to tell the crowd that education has become increasingly crucial to succeed, given the disappearance of blue-collar jobs that pay well. Duncan urged workers to show other companies why they should follow in Starbucks’ footsteps.

“Think of the example you can set for the rest of the nation,” Duncan said. “If you guys can do this well … you’re going to change the trajectory of the entire country.”

Here’s how it would work:

“…As with most matters involving financial aid, the terms of the Starbucks program are complicated and would vary depending on the worker’s situation. For the freshman and sophomore years, students would pay a greatly reduced tuition after factoring in a scholarship from Starbucks and ASU and financial aid, such as Pell grants.

It would work in much the same way for the junior and senior years, except that Starbucks would reimburse any money that workers pay out of pocket.

That means employees who already have two years of college under their belts would be able to finish school at no cost.

Online tuition at ASU can vary but is about $10,000 a year. Most Starbucks workers would likely qualify for a Pell grant, which can be as high as $5,730 a year. Starbucks did not say how much money it is contributing to the scholarship it’s providing with ASU.

Arizona State University’s online program, which already has an enrollment of more than 10,000, stands to benefit from the students Starbucks will send its way.”

I think this is an amazing opportunity, and I would definitely encourage my kids to work for a company that is committed to helping them get through school. (Good think I have been training Walsh to grind my coffee.) So I am wondering what are other good companies for teens to work for that encourage them to stick to their studying and help them get through school?

When I was growing up Chick-Fil-A was always considered a great place to work because it offered scholarships for college. I don’t know if Publix offers scholarship but it seems like a company that is respectful of it’s young workers.

What companies encourage young people to continue their studies, help them set up their schedule at work to facilitate studying and/or offer scholarships or other financial support to pay for school?

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