They range in age from 16 to 36 and they’ve been with Starbucks from a just a few weeks to 18 years. Their ultimate career goals include becoming a police detective, a firefighter, a teacher, leaders at Starbucks, and starting their own companies. They’re from Brooklyn, the Bronx, Queens and the Caribbean island of Jamaica.
Different paths in life have brought them together in one place – Starbucks new store in the Jamaica neighborhood of Queens, New York. It’s the first of 15 Starbucks stores that are part of the company’s effort to support economic development and social change in diverse low- to medium-income communities in the U.S.
The store, on the corner of Sutphin Boulevard and 89th Avenue, includes an onsite classroom space available to local nonprofit organizations to provide job training and skills building programs for young people in the area.
Meet the Starbucks partners (employees) of Jamaica, Queens:
Tacha, four-year partner – shift supervisor
I’ve experienced a lot in my neighborhood as far as people feeling like they don’t have certain opportunities in life. I’ve also witnessed the good that can happen when people step up to help. My mom has been involved with feeding the homeless for as long as I can remember, and I joined her when I was about 11 years old. Community service is an important part of what I do. Being a part of something like this – where Starbucks is letting the neighborhood know it cares – is a good feeling. Ultimately, I’d like to serve the community as a police detective.
Nigel, four-week partner – barista
When I heard there was going to be a Starbucks in Jamaica, Queens, I knew it would be a positive thing for the community and I wanted to be a part of it. I grew up in Queens and I know people need a place to go to find resources to get ahead. Personally, I always thought I’d become a firefighter, but now I’m considering growing my career with Starbucks. I want to see how far I can go with this company.
Rasheed, three-month partner – barista
I wanted to work at Starbucks because of the friendly atmosphere. At the time, when I interviewed, I didn’t know about all that Starbucks does for the community. I like that part of the company because I care about this place too. Also, Starbucks gives me an opportunity to grow as a person and in my life. I’m into music and hope to one day open my own business recording R&B and hip-hop.
Candice C., three-year partner – barista
Starbucks was such a lively place whenever I’d go there as a customer, so I decided to check it out as a place to work. Now that I’m a partner, I realize Starbucks does so much more than serve coffee. It’s become a family to me and is a better experience than anywhere else I’ve worked. I’m challenging myself now to learn as much as I can about coffee and connect with customers who come into the new store, and the community as a whole. I want to be a shift supervisor and then an assistant store manager the next three to five years.
Shadow, two-week partner – barista
The chance to work in the Jamaica, Queens store is exciting because it’s like being at home for me. I live there and everyone is literally my neighbor; I’ll run in to so many people I know. For the community, it’s going to give people a different experience and allow them to open up to new ideas and I think it’ll give people a sense of hope too. Giving people hope is what I’d like to do too. I’d like to start a nonprofit in the future focused on teen moms and helping them continue with their careers.
Amanda, one-and-a-half-year partner – shift supervisor
It means a lot for me to be able to work at the new store. As I’ve started to grow with Starbucks I’ve discovered that this isn’t just a job for me, this is a career. I have a 2-year-old daughter and I’ve been going through some challenges in my personal life, but through it all my manager and partners have been very helpful over the past few weeks. I love this company. Let Howard know that I’m coming for his job someday.
Unique, six-month partner – barista
Working in the store means it’ll be closer to home, and it’s good for the community to have something new that will bring people together and bring coffee lovers together. I appreciate that I can be myself at Starbucks, and also that I’m with a good company that gives back to the community. I see myself staying with Starbucks for a long time and I’m planning on becoming a Coffee Master.
Candice L., two-year partner – shift supervisor
I’m a college graduate who stopped working when I became a stay-home mom. I used to be a Starbucks customer but then had some free time when my son was in school during the day. A flexible schedule allowed me to get back into the workforce. I never thought I’d like working retail, but Starbucks is unique. On top of that, I’m passionate about coffee and am a Coffee Master. I was born and raised in New York, but my ancestors are from Puerto Rico and it means a lot to me professionally to experience coffees from growing regions around the world and then share that with customers.
Alex, one-and-a-half-year partner – barista
The Jamaica, Queens store is not too far from my house, so knowing that I’m going to be in a Starbucks that’s helping the community is huge for me. I have a lot of friends in the community and it means a lot to me that Starbucks is investing here. My plan is to get a business degree through ASU (Arizona State University and Starbucks provide full tuition reimbursement through the Starbucks College Achievement Plan) and then I’d like to open my own café.
David, one-month partner – barista
This time last year I didn’t know what I wanted to do, and a year later all of the pieces fell into place and I couldn’t ask for a better opportunity. I’m from Jamaica, Queens and have been doing community work here so when I found out about the new Starbucks I felt like I had to be involved. Since I’ve started as a barista I’ve enjoyed connecting with customers. When I see someone setting down with the sports section of a newspaper, I know I we have something to talk about. I like drama and I’m looking into getting a business management degree with ASU online.
Carlos, two-week partner – barista
I had heard Starbucks and other companies were hiring 100,000 youth and that Starbucks would open a store in Jamaica. I live five blocks from the store so thought I would apply for a job. I think Starbucks is going to be a gathering place for a lot of people, and it’s good that they’re going to have job training and workshops to help the community. I’m thinking about my education and that’s part of what drew me to Starbucks. I’m looking into ASU, possibly to become a mechanical engineer.
Saudia, one-month partner – barista
I’ve always had office jobs, so I was super excited to do something different. I know there are troubles in the area because I live in Jamaica, Queens, but I think Starbucks will be great for the community. I like event planning, and I’m going to learn as much as possible from Starbucks so that I can work toward starting my own business.
Jermaine, one-year partner – shift supervisor
I hadn’t planned on working for Starbucks long term, but now that I’m here I’m enjoying it and could see myself being here five years from now. I’m excited about the new store in Jamaica because it’s a community that’s changing and has more development coming in. I’m an entrepreneur and like creating something from nothing, and that’s what Starbucks is doing with the new store.
Fernando, one-month partner – barista
My friend worked for Starbucks and told me about the opportunity. Jamaica can be set in its ways because everything has been there for a long time. Having a Starbucks there will shake things up a bit in a good way because it’s new. It’s going to be a new experience and I’m grateful to be a part of it. I love to work with young people, because teachers can have a huge influence in a young person’s life. I always wanted to do the same thing. Ultimately I want to be a teacher.
Juanita, three-year partner – shift supervisor
I came to Starbucks because I couldn’t afford school and needed a job. I didn’t expect to be here a long time, but I also didn’t know there were companies like this. Starbucks matches my values and is committed to community services, like I am, so that’s one of the reasons I stay. I want to continue helping the community through my new store and work toward becoming a Starbucks district manager. I’m 100 percent confident that will happen.
Fee, seven-month partner – barista
What I like about Starbucks is the opportunities they offer, and they’re doing far more for someone my age than most other companies. I’m from the Jamaica, Queens area. I grew up in south Jamaica, where a lot of people have been suffering. This new store is opening a door for the whole community in a way and teaching people that there are positive ways to move forward if you take advantage of the opportunities that come your way. I feel like if I do that with my own career, I’ll be able to go far.
Alisha, 18-year partner – store manager
My dad told me about Starbucks 18 years ago and suggested I get a job there. When I interviewed with the company I was impressed with the culture. We have so many resources available for our partners to grow their careers and to grow as individuals. It was clear then, as it still is today, that Starbucks takes care of its partners. As the store manager, I’ll bring my enthusiasm and love for Starbucks Mission and Values to the new store in Jamaica, which is where I grew up and where I still live today. My partners are going to be able to make an impact in the community with their neighbors, friends and the people they see in their neighborhood every day.