Howard Schultz on Jobs

Starbucks CEO; independent candidate for President until July 2019


Create company our parents had no chance to work for

My father did not finish high school, and spent his adult life as a laborer who had a series of unfortunate jobs, odd jobs that unfortunately didn't pay very well. One of the most vivid memories of my childhood is my father lying on the couch in a cast. I was seven years old when I came home from school and saw my dad literally just laying on his back. He had a job at the time delivering cloth diapers, he fell on a patch of ice and broke his ankle. Because of that accident, as a blue collar worker in the late 50's, he was fired from his job. He had no workers compensation. No savings. And no health insurance. And the image of my father, helpless on the couch, has stayed with me, literally, my entire life.

At Starbucks, I set out, in so many ways, to create the kind of company that my father never got a chance to work for. One that treated people with dignity and respect.

Source: Purdue Univ. speech on 2020 Presidential Campaign website , Feb 7, 2019

When workers hurt in 1960s, they were dismissed & no income

My father's job had been driving a truck, delivering clean cloth diapers to people's homes--and picking up the dirty ones. On that wet, slippery winter day, he was making deliveries when he fell on a sheet of ice. The fall broke his hip and his ankle. For the next month, I saw my father imprisoned in a cast.

In America in the 1960s, an unskilled worker like my dad who got hurt on the job was typically dismissed without notice. The accident left my father with no income, no health insurance, no worker's compensation, and because my parents had no savings, they had nothing to fall back on. If not for a local charitable organization, Jewish Family Services, my family would have run out of food.

I've tried to imagine the situation from my father's point of view. He took on the "worst job in the world" to support us. But what did he get for it? Abandonment by the company whose work broke him. The sight of my helpless father slumped on the couch wedged itself into my consciousness forever.

Source: From the Ground Up, by Howard Schultz, p. 8-9 , Jan 28, 2019

Key to job growth is loans to small business

In 2011 [I asked], "How are we going to get America back to work?"

My intention was to spur job growth, beyond the people Starbucks was able to hire. Doing so could help rev the economy. Of all the problems facing the nation, employment was an area in which Starbucks had the most credibility. Creating jobs was what we did. That year, the company was on track to hire 12,000 more partners globally. But if we wanted Starbucks to help make a dent in the country's high unemployment situation, we had to look beyond our own ability to hire.

Small business can be the job engines of local economies. But they weren't growing. The Great Recession had slammed small companies especially hard, in part because they relied on capital from banks to fund their initial growth. But since 2008, many banks were only lending money to the most qualified, asset-rich borrowers. Not necessarily entrepreneurs. We agreed that focusing on funding small businesses [would be our policy].

Source: From the Ground Up, by Howard Schultz, p. 76-77 , Jan 28, 2019

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Page last updated: Apr 30, 2021