Sun Devils in the U.K.

Starbucks and Arizona State University announced the expansion of their partnership, which is set to benefit future Sun Devils in the U.K. and put them on the path to earning a bachelor’s degree.

The Starbucks Degree Achievement Plan is a partnership between Starbucks and Arizona State University (ASU) that provides Starbucks employees- referred to as partners- in the U.K. to earn an ASU bachelor’s degree online.  

It is launching as a pilot program, so ASU and Starbucks can determine the best ways to serve the students as the program grows.

“We really want to use this opportunity to test and learn and make sure that we can serve the partners in the way that they need to be served from an educational perspective,” said Lisa Young, Starbucks Initiatives executive director at Arizona State University, said.

It is an expansion of the Starbucks College Achievement Plan, which allows eligible Starbucks partners in the U.S. to earn an ASU bachelor’s degree online.

“When we think about the responsibilities of universities and corporations, we believe that goes beyond the boundaries of what they produce. And, part of that is the responsibility to produce people that can go out into the world and do good outside of the role they have within Starbucks,” Young said.

After the Starbucks partners earn their bachelor’s degree and complete the program, they are not obligated to stay at Starbucks- although they are welcome.  

“This is different in that it is received as a benefit and your responsibility is then to go out into the community and better the community that you’re going to serve and pursue your career interests. When we give people an education and they are given that opportunity it enables them to go out and serve their communities,” Young explained.

Young explained that about half of the partners in the U.S. program have chosen a path outside of Starbucks after earning their degree.

“If they have a desire to go out do something else, this enables them to do that. It’s the idea of not having boundaries to what people can do once they have a degree,” Young said.

Providing this opportunity to Starbucks partners in the U.S. and the U.K. and encouraging them to pursue their own dreams afterward aligns with ASU and Starbucks’ drive to better communities.  

“If we can impact the lives of learners on a global scale, then that’s definitely in line with what our charter intends to do,” Young said.

She added, “There’s certainly other intentions that we have beyond this partnership that we intend to do on a global scale. Our intentions aren’t just to educate people within the U.S. If we have the ability to scale that outside of the U.S., then we absolutely feel the responsibility to do that.”

The application is open and enrollment will begin this fall, and 100 Starbucks partners in the U.K. will have the opportunity to participate in the pilot.

“We’re confident that’s the amount that will take place and obviously it’s our desire that the response will be high, the experience will be positive so that we can move this from a pilot phase to a full-fledged long-standing plan like we have in the U.S.,” Young said.

The Starbucks Degree Achievement Plan is an expansion of the Starbucks College Achievement Plan, which began in 2014. Since then, more than 2,400 students have graduated through the program and about 500 are set to graduate this May.

Sierra Ciaramella

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