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Starbucks opens military-staffed location near Arizona air base

An apron is readied for presentation during the dedication of the Starbucks Military Family Store in Litchfield Park, Arizona. The store, dedicated in partnership with Blue Star Families, aims to connect with and support military members and their families as they transition from military to civilian life, and to create a local environment where veterans, reservists and military spouses feel welcomed and recognized. Photographed on January 27, 2016. (Starbucks Photo/Joshua Trujillo)

PHOENIX — As part of its commitment to hiring veterans and military spouses, Starbucks dedicated its first Arizona store focused on staffing those with military ties on Wednesday.

The Litchfield Park location, near Camelback and Dysart roads, is only minutes from Luke Air Force Base.

Mick James with Starbucks said dedicating the chain’s 17th military location strengthens the relationship between Starbucks and Luke Air Force Base.

“It’s only a natural evolution with our commitment to hiring veterans and military spouses to have a military family store commitment outside local bases like this one,” he said.

Starbucks plans to hire 10,000 veterans and military spouses nationwide by 2018.

“We’re seeking talented individuals that can serve Starbucks coffee and create enthusiastically-satisfied customers,” James said. “We found that there’s a tremendous culture and leadership fit by hiring veterans and military spouses.”

Current and former military members who work at Starbucks also have the chance to pass along an extra tuition-free education to a spouse or child through a partnership with Arizona State University.

Eligible family members can choose from any of the ASU online bachelor degree programs.

As of May 2015, more than 1,800 Starbucks workers had registered for classes at ASU. The program is open to all Starbucks employees.