Coffee and free college tuition? Why vets like working at Starbucks

Phil Briggs
August 07, 2019 - 11:22 am
Starbucks aprons show their commitment to hiring veterans and mliitary spouses.


For millions of veterans, the thought of starting the day without coffee is unimaginable.  

But after recent news that 25,000 veterans are also fueling their careers by working for coffee giant Starbucks, we wondered what made the jobs so appealing?

We asked Starbucks’ Matt Kress (below), a Marine Corps veteran and senior manager of Starbucks' Veteran and Military Affairs, why so many vets are going from the battlefield to barista.

Matt Kress, Starbucks Senior Manager of Veteran and Military Affairs

CV: After the Marine Corps, you could have worked a lot of places. What made you choose Starbucks?

Kress: I was looking for a company that really made a difference. I had 20-plus years of serving and protecting people and helping make our country and communities a better place — so I knew that was integral to who I am and where I wanted to be. Starbucks was truly the front-runner. They truly deliver on the mission of social impact in giving back to communities. It was a clear choice.  

CV: What type of jobs are veterans choosing?

Kress: From our retail stores to supply chain operations, including our roasting plants, as well as in the corporate environment … We are proud to hire veterans and military spouses.

CV As a veteran, what are the advantages of working at Starbucks?

Kress: At Starbucks, we recognize veterans and military spouses make our company better  … We support our veteran partners through a variety of benefits and programs that make sense for them including; providing tuition-free education through our Starbucks College Achievement Plan (SCAP) which can be extended to a spouse or child ; connection to community of other Veterans, active-duty military members and supporters via the Armed Forces Network (AFN) and over 60 Military Family Stores around the nation which are positioned near military installations and focus on hiring veterans and military spouses." 

CV: What about pay and benefits?

Kress: "In addition to competitive wages, all of our partners receive a comprehensive and meaningful benefits package.  It includes affordable healthcare coverage, company stock, a 401(k) savings match, and a 100 percent covered tuition for a bachelor’s degree from Arizona State University – which veterans can also extend to a spouse or child."

CV: What about advancement potential? From barista to the big boss?

Kress: The career opportunities are endless ... veterans are advancing across our organization.  They can be store managers, district managers and beyond in our retail stores, as well explore a variety of career opportunities in our corporate offices.

CV After hiring 25,000 veterans/military spouses are there still opportunities?

After reaching our goal of hiring 25,000 military spouses and veterans by 2025, which we've accomplished six years early, we’re now aspiring to hire 5,000 Veterans and military spouses annually.

Want to know more about a Starbucks career? Visit their veteran careers page

Get a cup of coffee and a great new career from this week's Employer of the Week

Get more connected to the great stories and resources Connecting Vets has to offer. Click here to sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Follow Phil Briggs @philbriggsVetStory or email