Coffee Company Employs Workers with Developmental Disabilities
ABLE Coffee Roasters is a coffee-roasting company that employs individuals with disabilities. They use certified organic beans directly imported from small farmers all across the globe—the quality beans are then roasted fresh by their ABLE workers.
ABLE workers can have a wide variety of disabilities that range from intellectual to developmental. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate for individuals with special needs is over 80% and employment opportunities are limited after the age of 22. With such a high unemployment rate for those with disabilities, ABLE Coffee Roasters sought out a way to lower that statistic. Their goal, as a chef-turned-education specialist and a behavior therapist-turned-business owner, is to break down all the barriers in a way that no one has seen before. They are confident that each individual is capable of being a functional part of society. And they are proving it.
Closing the Disability Employment Gap
The company, which is based out of Orange County, California, was founded by Anthony Palmeri, MA Ed. S., and Adeel Asif, MS A.B.A. Both of the founders have worked with individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities for more than 10 years in both the public and private sectors. As colleagues in an autism-specific classroom, they worked with their students on job-related and life skills in the classroom.
Many of the students would be sent to various job sites but employers, as generous as they were to help the special needs community, were often times unable to shape their disability into functional job skills and students were not always able to reach their full potential. Palmeri and Asif saw the need for there to be more jobs with appropriate job training and accommodations for these indviduals in order for them to be successful and independent in the workplace.
ABLE Coffee Roasters was founded with the intent to create a work environment where people with these disabilities can reach their highest potential, feel accepted, and be a part of the workforce. ABLE trains their employees to master tasks such as roasting coffee beans, packaging, labeling and shipping out orders. ABLE workers are trained and guided using the principles of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA).
They use different strategies to teach vocational and life skills that can be mastered over time when demonstrated in a structured setting, then generalized into a job setting. With effective training from experienced staff. ABLE employees will be an important part of our country's working community.
Currently, ABLE Coffee Roasters is working towards opening a storefront cafe, as well as supplying wholesale coffee to local store owners and businesses nationwide. The ABLE café aims to encourage positive interactions between their customers and their workers as part of a community workforce. They invite any and all coffee drinkers to come support their cause.
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