Starbucks pours out college credits

Along with McDonald's and Wal-Mart, it's aiding employee education. A peek at post-college employment trends shows why.

By Jason Notte Apr 16, 2013 10:06AM
Image: Espresso machine with mug, close-up -- nd61 , SuperStockCollege credit for a course sponsored by Starbucks (SBUX)? Why not? That's where college grads end up working anyway.

CNNMoney and The Hechinger Report took a look at restaurant and service industry education initiatives and discovered that Starbucks workers who take the company's Barista Basics and Barista 101 courses in Seattle can earn one-and-a-half credits from City University of Seattle for each class. They can stockpile three more credits apiece for higher-level management courses.

Other colleges also recognize the Starbucks training for academic credit through the American Council on Education's College Credit Recommendation Service, an organization that reviews and puts its stamp of approval on workplace courses. It's up to colleges and universities whether to accept the credits, but Mary Beth Lakin, director of ACE's college and university partnerships, says 2,000 institutions did so last year.

This will come in handy not only as students are racking up loan debt, but when they join the 284,000 college graduates making minimum wage. The Center for College Affordability & Productivity reported that nearly half of the college graduates from the class of 2010 are in jobs that don't require a bachelor's degree. A full 38% have taken jobs that don't even require a high school education, helping to drop the median wage for college graduates significantly since 2000.

What about the recovery, you ask? It's kind of exacerbating the problem. The U.S. economy has regained 5.7 million of the 8.7 million jobs shed during the recession. However, roughly 65% of those jobs have been of the low-wage variety, though nearly 60% of all jobs lost during the recession paid middle-income wages or better, according to the National Employment Law Project.

Not surprisingly, some of the other employers following Starbucks' lead are among the country's largest low-wage employers. Including fast food, the food-service industry employs nearly 3 million U.S. workers, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This means McDonald's (MCD) has plenty of room to offer up to 27 credits toward bachelor or associate degrees through Hamburger University at its Oak Brook, Ill., headquarters.

It's not the only one filling universities with well-trained low-wage workers. Almost 4.3 million Americans work as retail salespeople, making that gig the most common in the land. Wal-Mart (WMT) is all too aware of this and has been offering college-level courses online since 2010. Wal-Mart's courses teach its associates about time management, effective phone skills and managing diversity.

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Apr 16, 2013 1:50PM
Msnbs - still telling us this is a recovery. Puleeeez, the election is over - you can tell the truth now.
Apr 16, 2013 2:17PM
Why would they help you get a college education? They won't hire you if you already have one ... over qualified!
Apr 16, 2013 2:20PM

I agree with peachy. I am entitled to my opinion. Someone may not agree with it, but it is still one of my rights. To tell a stock holder to sell your stocks is bad business. If they wanted to give money to some organization then I can give a whole list of more deserving charities. How about starting with some of the diseases children have or to fight abuse to children? As far as a fair wage - nope. He can spend 100,000,000.00 on a bakery, but can't increase his lowly workers wages? Come on. I wonder has he ever made a cup of coffee himself?


Apr 16, 2013 2:09PM

I agree with you Mike Bailie (1228).  As much as I have always been a loyal Starbucks customer, when you tell me that if my beliefs are not the same as yours (which I respect) then I should take my business elsewhere...well then, thanks for making it so clear.  I heard you loud & clear.  I will miss you Starbuck tall triple nf latte.  Good ridance to SBs outspoken CEO.


Apr 16, 2013 2:12PM
I will never darken the doors of Starbuck's after reading about the CEO's comment that folks should sell their stocks if they don't agree with his position on legalized gay marriage. Come on people, get some ethics here. Another low wage provider living off you cheap time and labor. It would do him justice if everyone boycotted his stores for a week. Just one week would be all it would take for him to see why our country is blessed the way it is. We have been a country to feed others, the loan money to poor countries and to help out with aid after disasters. The giving people need to make a living wage and to know who is the God on heaven. Boycott Starbuck's and  give some other business your hard earned dollars.
Apr 16, 2013 1:56PM
Probably trying to recover from their asinine CEO's remarks!
Apr 16, 2013 3:29PM
It's about time companies realized that they don't need a 4-year degree for the majority of  their workforce!  This is simply a come-on so their company looks good on paper and so the "college graduates" can retain their little club and keep the average worker out of the money-making jobs.  The majority of college graduates come into a company and spend the better part of their first year learning how the company operates and functions - being trained by non-college educated employees who have been on the job longer.  What is different about that from the average man on the street coming into the company and learning the same functionality?  NOTHING!  It's about time US companies opened their eyes to the fact that these college educated people come into a company - are promoted before they have any actual working knowledge about how the company operates - then they propose "programs" and "innovative ideas" that almost never work - then leave for greener pastures and leave the non-college people to clean up their mess!  What made the USA great was the fact that companies promoted from within, retained their best workers and then had management who knew and also cared about the welfare of the workforce and the company!  WE NEED TO GET BACK TO THAT !!!  Only doctors, lawyers, nurses, etc REALLY NEED a college education!  The rest is just fluff to put on your resume to pump up your ego and the ego of the people above the glass ceiling who hired you - WAKE UP AMERICA !!!
Apr 16, 2013 3:48PM

This is more story's by a company that really doesn't care about it's so called Partners. Give them back the hours and medical coverage they used to have. Starbuck's is all about smoke and mirrors.

They have a Look at me complex, when things start to slow down in to stores. I have seen this way too many times. Next thing you will see look what we did for the community. they do very little to help anyone but they make a big deal out the smallest issue. They are printing shirt's or hats for something coming up you can believe it... this how they keep the stock holders happy... What a joke this company is trying to keep up with McD's .... Really Howard... Grow up Mr. ADHD... His kids get more in pocket change then a manager makes in a year working 50 hours a week, without over time pay...

Apr 16, 2013 3:42PM
Talk about dumbing down of education no wonder India and China are surpassing the USA
Apr 16, 2013 3:20PM
Fits right in....some Starbucks near two or three Univ. of California campuses are Asian study halls. 
Apr 16, 2013 3:42PM
Apr 16, 2013 3:53PM
more BS from CEO, wake up and pay a living wage instead of putting it all in your pocket, CEO is always patting himself on back for doing the very little that he does for his employees, what a joke, give all your employees a raise you tightwad.................if you can't pay a living wage, resign and get a real job........
Apr 16, 2013 3:48PM
I have a PHD in Bovine Culinary Arts at Mickey D's U.
Apr 24, 2013 9:54AM

to: chop1966


any job, any profession, any career is just as important as the next, somebody has to do it, they all deserve a living wage period, nobody has the right to own slaves while patting themselves on the back, keep donating your time to Starbucks or have some pride and ask for a raise, but then you will be shown the door and replaced, why do you think they have such a huge turnover of employees, just like any and all slave wage paying employers ............CEO and owner of Starbucks, Walmart, MacDonalds etc;  know this and their wage policy's have made them and will continue to make them immensely wealthy at their employees may take awhile for you to realize this but you eventually will.........meanwhile keep grinding away......did you figure out my point yet..........?????    

Apr 16, 2013 2:57PM

Three thumbs down on my last comment, but no replies. COWARDS


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