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Howard Schultz On Why He's Determined to Give All Starbucks Employees a Free College Education

LinkedIn Executive Editor Daniel Roth meets Starbucks Chairman and CEO, Howard Schultz to discuss its latest announcement and why he’s giving four-year college education to all of his employees.

Watch the second part of the interview: http://www.slideshare.net/LinkedInPulse/howard-schultz-what-the-critics-never-understood-about

Click here to read the article: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/howard-schultz-giving-college-educations-his-employees-daniel-roth

On Monday, Starbucks unveiled a massive expansion to its program granting free college educations to part- and full-time U.S. employees. Called the College Achievement Plan, the $200 million initiative allows employees who don’t have a degree to earn one through Arizona State University’s online coursework.

In a wide-ranging discussion from Starbucks’ offices overlooking the Seattle skyline, CEO Howard Schultz said he expects to see 25,000 employees earn their degrees —for many, they will be the first in their family to do so — through CAP in the next 10 years. And that’s being conservative. “We have a long history of under-promising and over-delivering,” he says. “We think we'll do the same there."

Schultz has long believed that Starbucks should play a lead in fixing problems that politicians or the private sector can’t (or won’t). Early in his tenure building what would become the $70 billion-in-market-cap coffee giant, he offered health care to all employees, bucking conventional corporate wisdom that benefits equaled bloat. He granted stock to workers. And he pushed his stores into the kind of debate that most people would prefer to avoid: from endless gridlock in D.C. to, this winter, the fatal state of race relations. “I've never tried to preach to other business leaders about what they should or should not do,” he says. “But I do feel strongly that the rules of engagement for a public company's responsibility have changed dramatically.”