Cafe Employs People With Differing Abilities To Help Them Learn Job Skills

A cafe has opened in Willard, Missouri, with a mission to give people with disabilities an opportunity to learn job skills.

The Hive is a nonprofit cafe that was a year in the making before opening a few months ago.

Photo: YouTube/Inside Edition

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 19% of persons with a disability were employed in 2019, and 66% of those without a disability were employed that year.

“There are several businesses like this across the U.S., not in Southwest Missouri,” Melissa Skaggs, Hive owner, told OzarksFirst. “So we will be the first inclusive eatery nonprofit where our business model is a 50/50 mix of typically developing employees as well as people with differing needs.”

Photo: YouTube/Inside Edition

The cafe acts as a community hub and is designed to help people with developmental disabilities learn essential skills in the workplace.

“We have someone who uses sign language, we have people on the autism spectrum,” Skaggs said. “50 percent of our staff have differing abilities of all sorts.”

Photo: YouTube/Inside Edition

The employees work alongside others to develop and learn all aspects of food production, service and marketing, while gaining experience in a real-world workplace environment. The employees will alternate jobs each day, so that everyone learns to serve, run the register, wash dishes and prepare food and drinks.

The cafe serves coffee, smoothies, tea, salad, soup, and sandwiches, and also offers wellness classes.

Photo: YouTube/Inside Edition

Intuit Quickbooks has created Small Business Hero Day, where they recognize three inspiring businesses. The Hive is one of those businesses and have been awarded a $20,000 prize that they can put back into their café.

“These small businesses make heroic efforts every day,” said Shilpa Reddy, vice president of Intuit Quickbooks. “They go above and beyond to serve their customers, strengthen their communities, and power our overall economy.”

Learn more about the inspiring new cafe in the video below:

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