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Starbucks ahead of schedule with veteran-hiring program
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Starbucks ahead of schedule with veteran-hiring program

Coffee maker Starbucks, responding to backlash over CEO Howard Schultz's promise to hire 10,000 refugees following President Donald Trump's executive action, is reminding critics of its vow to hire the same number of veterans and military spouses by 2018.

Schultz, according to Reuters, announced the refugee-hiring plan two days after Trump signed an order freezing the refugee resettlement program for 120 days and instituting a 90-day moratorium on entry into the U.S. from seven Muslim-majority countries.

The coffee behemoth pledged to hire 10,000 refugees over the next five years for stores in 75 different countries. The plan is one of Starbucks' more aggressive goals. In fact, it is matched by a similar plan the company already had in place for veterans.

While some who said Starbucks should focus on hiring Americans have called for a boycott of the brand, its Armed Forces Network is reminding people that Starbucks is already aggressively hiring veterans and military spouses.

"We respect honest debate and the freedom of expression. Many of us served to protect that very right. Some of our brothers and sisters died protecting it," members of the network wrote in a memo, the Seattle Times reported. "But to those who would suggest Starbucks is not committed to hiring veterans, we are here to say: check your facts, Starbucks is already there."

According to its website, Starbucks is ahead of schedule, having hired 8,800 military veterans and spouses since 2013, when it pledged to hire 10,000 by 2018.

In addition, Schultz said the refugee-hiring initiative would focus first on hiring those who worked for the U.S. military as interpreters.

The Starbucks Veteran Network, which boasts 14 chapters across the U.S., said in 2013 that veterans already working at the coffee company wanted to see Starbucks hire more service members and spouses, according to the Times.

Since then, Schultz and his wife, Sheri, have not only encouraged their employees to visit military bases, they've made a point of visiting themselves. And with their own money, they've aided military members looking for work, and the company has planted military family stores at more than 30 bases around the country.

Editor's note: This story has been updated to correct an earlier edition that said Starbucks was speeding up its veteran-hiring program.

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