February 25, 2016 Sustainability

New Starbucks Store to Help Veterans and Military Spouses

When Mike Pyle learned that Starbucks would dedicate a Military Family Store in his district, he was inspired to find a way to support his local military community.

“I researched the challenges that veterans and military spouses face, particularly in identifying work that aligns with their skills,” said Pyle, a district manager in Collinsville, Illinois. “I became truly passionate about helping them.”

One challenge for veterans involves something as basic as resume writing. Large employers often use software to screen the resumes they receive, and those from veterans can be rejected because they don't reflect the key words employers are looking for, even though the applicant is qualified and has significant leadership experience.

Pyle contacted a friend in the Air Force for suggestions on how to get involved with recruiting and hiring veterans. He was directed to Rose Hill, who works with the Airmen & Family Readiness Center at Scott Air Force Base. The program she runs prepares families for deployment and returning to civilian life.

“The first time I spoke with Rose, I asked her to tell me the number one thing that I could do to help veterans and their families,” said Pyle.

“I told Mike that my answer was simple. We need more companies involved in helping veterans and spouses find jobs,” Hill responded.

With that in mind, Pyle began planning a job fair with Hill. After only two weeks, they hosted their first event at the base earlier this month (February 3). 

"The fair was well attended by veterans, military spouses and family members as well," said Pyle. "We were fortunate to hire two attendees on the spot as Starbucks baristas."

One of these new partners (employees) will work at the Greenmount & I-64 Starbucks in O’Fallon, Illinois, which was dedicated as a Military Family Store today (February 25). Many of the baristas and managers who work in Military Family Stores are veterans and military spouses and they work with a community non-profit to provide services for veterans and their families. Partners at Greenmount & I-64 will work with Team Red, White and Blue.

Pyle and Hill plan to continue their collaboration on future job fairs and hope to hire more veterans and military spouses to work at Starbucks stores in the area.

"I am grateful for the opportunity to partner with Starbucks," Hill said. "I look forward to maintaining a rewarding relationship with the company."

“We take for granted how simple it can be to apply for a job. Most of us don’t have to consider moving every couple of years or being deployed overseas,” said Pyle. “To help the men and women who serve our country and who put their lives on the line is a pretty incredible feeling.”

Read more Starbucks veterans stories here: Paying Tribute and Creating Opportunity

For more information on this story, contact the Starbucks Newsroom