Starbucks locations close for anti-bias training

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NORWALK -

About 8,000 Starbucks locations nationwide closed Tuesday so employees could undergo anti-bias training.

One Starbucks in Norwalk closed around 2:15 p.m. for the training. It comes after a controversial video went viral last month, in which two black men were arrested in a Philadelphia Starbucks while they waited for their friend to arrive.

In response, Starbucks created a four-hour training program. As for its effectiveness, News 12 reached out to Norwalk-based OperationsInc, which does racial diversity training for some of the world's largest companies, to find out more.

"The question goes back to, are they looking to 'check the box' or are they looking to actually change something that's going on within the culture and the approach that employees take within the organization," said OperationsInc CEO David Lewis.

Starbucks is not the only company putting its workers through such training. OperationsInc says its human resources training business is up 400 percent.

Jack Bryant, president of the Stamford NAACP, says training isn't enough and that companies like Starbucks need more minorities in managerial positions.

"We live in a diverse country, a diverse state, a diverse city," Bryant says. "So there should be some representation...in upper management."

Some Starbucks locations that are found inside stores such as Target and Stop & Shop did stay open Tuesday. Those stores say they have their own diversity training in place.

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