Howard Schultz on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart


Jon Stewart’s job is to “hate everything.”

As the host of Comedy Central’s popular The Daily Show interviewed Starbucks ceo Howard Schultz, he said, “I’m having a very difficult time with this. This sounds lovely.”

Stewart was referring to Starbucks announcement that the company will become the first in the U.S. to offer full tuition reimbursement for partners (employees) to complete a bachelor’s degree.

The Starbucks College Achievement Plan will be available this fall to more than 135,000 partners in the country who want to pursue a college education online through Arizona State University, which has one of the top online programs in the country.

“If three percent of your employees take this offer up – and it’s a good offer – it’s $50 million,” Stewart pointed out.

“It’ll be millions of dollars per year,” Schultz said. “We’re a public company, we have to build long-term value for the shareholder, but we recognized a long time ago when we provided health care for our people, ownership for our people, the only way you can build a great and enduring company is by linking shareholder value with value for employees.”

Stewart, joking that "corporations are generally sociopaths," was surprised Starbucks is able to offer its partners this kind of benefit.

“I think Starbucks has always taken a different track to building a company,” said Schultz.

Today's consumer is not only making purchasing decisions based on prices and product features, they’re also looking at how a company treats its employees, he said.

“I’m impressed by it. I think it’s a really nice initiative,” Stewart said, “and to show support I’m going to go to Starbucks, I’m going to buy a coffee and even one of those indie folk rock things (CDs) that I don’t know anyone on the album."

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Photos courtesy Comedy Central's The Daily Show