When employers are educated on the benefits of hiring people with disabilities, all sorts of doors open for job seekers and employers alike.
Think Beyond the Label is one organization that educates with and provides network opportunities for businesses and job seekers with disabilities.
Think Beyond the Label is a public-private partnership that delivers information, outreach and resources to businesses, job seekers and the public workforce system to ensure greater recruiting and hiring opportunities for job candidates with disabilities.
One of the sucess stories on the website (a couple of years old, but the program is still running) is about an Auto Dealership in Georgia that has developed Cafe Blends: Blending Autism into the Workplace. Since its inception, several of the dealerships locations have opened Cafe Blends at their locations.
Café Blends got its start as a pilot program at a Mercedes-Benz dealership in Tampa, Fla., in 2011. The Tampa café was so successful the company began a corporate initiative to expand the cafes to Atlanta. There are now three locations in Atlanta and one in Greenville, S.C.
Each café employs three baristas and one supervisor, who also serves as a job coach. The program involves not only training the participants, ages 18 to 28, as baristas, but also educating dealership employees about autism and how to help integrate the cafe workers into store operations.
“Asbury’s Café Blends initiative has become a remarkable success among both our employees and our customers. We feel very privileged to have this opportunity to raise awareness and create job opportunities for individuals on the autism spectrum,” says Craig Monaghan, president and CEO of Asbury Automotive Group.