Starbucks said Tuesday that it will be closing all of its restaurants in the U.S. on May 29 to conduct a racial-bias education program.
An estimate of 175,000 workers will participate and it will become part of the new-hire process going forward.
The company has enlisted local and national experts to develop the curriculum, including Sherrilyn Ifill, president and director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, and Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League. The company will also make the materials available to other companies, including its licensed partners. “While this is not limited to Starbucks, we’re committed to being a part of the solution,” said Chief Executive Kevin Johnson in a statement. “Closing our stores for racial bias training is just one step in a journey that requires dedication from every level of our company and partnerships in our local communities.” Starbucks made headlines after an incident in a Philadelphia location where two black men were escorted out by police in handcuffs after a manager phoned the police with a trespassing complaint. Starbucks shares are up 4.2% for the year so far while the S&P 500 index spx+1.06% is up 1.2% for the period.