After meeting its goal to hire 25,000 veterans and military spouses six years ahead of schedule, Starbucks has committed to hiring 5,000 each year, CEO Kevin Johnson told CNBC’s Jim Cramer on Friday.
“They make us a better company,” Johnson said on a Veterans Day edition of “Mad Money,” broadcast from the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado.
Johnson said the coffee giant has hired more than 26,000 veterans and military spouses, about six years after the company began its effort to do more for U.S. service members and their families.
The request came from Starbucks’ Armed Forces Network, an internal group of employees who have served in the military, Johnson said.
The unemployment rate for veterans has fallen to an all-time low in recent years. It was at 3.2% in October, according to the Department of Labor. The non-veteran jobless rate for the country was 3.5%.
The jobless rate for veterans peaked at 9.9% in 2011.
Johnson also highlighted other efforts the Seattle-based company has undertaken to improve the lives of U.S. service members and their families, such as an “adopt-a-unit” program to provide coffee to those overseas and opening stores near military bases.
Starbucks’ Military Family Stores, Johnson said, can serve as places to “create community,” provide places of employment and also help with the transition back to civilian life. He said they have 62 of those stores open currently, with plans to roughly double that number in the next few years.
Starbucks’ decision to expand mental health coverage in its insurance plans was due, in part, to the “unique needs” that some service members have, Johnson said.
“Much of this is about breaking the stigma of mental health,” he said.