At the Mercedes-Benz dealership in Tampa, Florida, there is a unique café that has drawn a lot of support and encouragement from the local community. It’s called Artista’s Cafe and it is offering young adults on the spectrum the opportunity to work or intern as a barista. The proceeds from the café (as well as the self-service coffee station inside the dealership) go towards Javamo Art for Autism, a non-profit organization.
In the following video clip, you’ll hear from several people involved in the project—from overseers to employees to employees’ parents—all sharing their experiences. The general manager of the dealership, Frank Cuteri, for example, shares how he came to make the café happen. Parents talk about how their adult children have learned teamwork through this job. An employee tells us that this is his first job ever, and that he likes it a lot.
Unfortunately, a disproportionate amount of people on the spectrum are unemployed—not because they lack talent or skill at what they’re doing but because they tend to struggle in social situations. That makes finding and keeping a job tricky…but it’s certainly not impossible! People on the spectrum need more opportunities like the ones Artista’s Café is offering—opportunities that give them appropriate support and employers who understand them. This café is definitely bringing us a step closer to a world like that.
Watch the video to learn more!
C. Dixon likes to read, sing, eat, drink, write, and other verbs. She enjoys cavorting around the country to visit loved ones and experience new places, but especially likes to be at home with her husband, son, and dog.