Minnesota Starbucks employee opens up on anti-bias training

A Starbucks employee is shedding light on the anti-bias training he received Tuesday when 8,000 stores closed their doors. The coffee giant held the sessions in response to an incident at a Philadelphia location last month that captured the nation’s attention. 

"I really enjoyed [the training],” said Trahern Jones, a Starbucks employee. “I thought it was a great experience."

Jones is still buzzing about his latest employee training at the Starbucks near the Eden Prairie mall.

"We all have biases in ourselves,” said Jones. “All that's important is recognizing what we see and not being ignorant to what we are."

During the four-hour racial bias training, employees watched a series of videos from company executives and the rapper Common as well as a documentary about the history of prejudice in public spaces. They also received a 68-page guidebook that focuses on understanding bias, respecting customers and their spaces and learning to be color brave instead of colorblind.

"It is an uncomfortable topic,” said Jones. “A lot of people don't like talking about it. So sometimes you need a push in the right direction to get the conversation started."

This all comes more than a month after a manager called police on two black men who were sitting in a Starbucks in Philadelphia waiting for a friend without buying anything. Jones says employees also talked about how to handle disruptive customers now that the company says all people are welcome at all Starbucks locations whether they make a purchase or not.

"Obviously what they did was wrong, but I'm glad Starbucks didn't back away from it,” he said. “They really tried to take the spotlight and tried to express how they are going to change."

Jones says one four-hour session won't change the world, but he feels it’s a step in the right direction.