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And the company said it plans to more than double that number

March 23, 2017

Some companies might have simply said, “Mission accomplished.” But after hitting its goal of hiring 10,000 US veterans a full year ahead of schedule, Starbucks has decided to extend its commitment to support those who have served America, more than doubling its hiring goal moving forward.

The world’s largest coffee chain originally announced its commitment to hire veterans and military spouses back in November 2013, pledging to hire 10,000 former members of the armed forces within the next five years. However, during yesterday’s annual meeting, Starbucks chairman and CEO Howard Schultz said that the company had already reached that milestone well ahead of its 2018 target. So to continue to show its support for this successful initiative, the company stated it would be increasing the goal to 25,000 total hires by a new deadline of 2025. “These are extraordinary people who have been through extraordinary things,” Schultz said during the meeting, “but they come back with skills, leadership, ethics, integrity, not an ounce of entitlement. And every one of them that has come to work at Starbucks, in our office, wearing the green apron, on their own merit have done a great job, but they have made us a better company. We are better because of them.”

Starbucks made other commitments to the military as well. The company said it plans to open 100 more “Military Family Stores” – locations near military bases that are staffed by veterans and military spouses – over the next five years. It also announced a partnership with No One Left Behind, an organization founded by a veteran and his interpreter that seeks to help resettle interpreters and other personal, as well as their families, who worked alongside US troops in foreign countries.

Though the coffee giant has clearly shown a commitment to veterans in the past, the timing of these announcements probably isn’t entirely coincidental as it comes on the heels of a predominantly manufactured controversy Starbucks faced on this topic earlier this year. Back in January, as a reaction to President Trump’s executive order attempting to ban refugees from entering the United States, Schultz made a pledge that Starbucks would seek to hire 10,000 refugees at locations around the globe over the next five years. This led some critics, apparently unaware of the veteran initiative, to ask, why not support Americans rather than refugees by hiring veterans? At the time, Starbuck immediately sought to shut down that argument with a letter from the Starbucks Armed Forces Network. Now, it would seem that Starbucks wants to eliminate any doubt about the company’s desire to help those in need of work whether they are attempting to assimilate after life in the military or after a life torn apart by military conflict.