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Starbucks to recruit 10,000 veterans, spouses

Starbucks says it plans to hire 10,000 military veterans and active military spouses in the next five years.
Starbucks says it plans to hire 10,000 military veterans and active military spouses in the next five years.MIKE BLAKE

Starbucks says it plans to hire at least 10,000 veterans and military spouses over the next five years. 

The Seattle-based coffee company says it will develop a system dedicated to matching the skills of veterans and military spouses with jobs throughout its organization. Starbucks says it has nearly 200,000 employees worldwide. 

"This demographic represents one of the most underutilized talent pools in our country," said former U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates, now a Starbucks director.

Announced ahead of the U.S. Veterans Day holiday on Nov. 11, Starbucks' new effort aims to expand and strengthen its existing mentoring program through the Armed Forces Network.

"This is not only about hiring baristas," Chief Executive Howard Schultz told Reuters.

Starbucks is seeking individuals with experience in everything from leading teams to building and managing complex, global supply chains, Schultz said.

As the company expands globally and gets coffee and tea from around the globe, veterans offer international experience and foreign language skills, Gates added.

"They bring an understanding of other cultures and they're accustomed to working with diverse and international partners," Gates said.

Starbucks Corp., which has about 20,000 locations around the world, also says it will designate five cafes in military communities where a portion of each transaction is donated to Operations GoodJobs and Vested in Vets. 

Several companies in recent years have committed to hiring veterans or military spouses. Earlier this year, for example, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. said it planned to hire more than 100,000 veterans over the next five years. 

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.