Café hires people with intellectual and developmental disabilities

SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) — Nothing beats a perfect morning brew.

When working early in the morning, a daily dose of caffeine is almost essential. Rise and Nye’s coffee shop and ice cream shop in downtown Sarasota teaches employees with intellectual and developmental disabilities skills that go beyond making the best latte.

Beaver Shriver and Christian Nye own the store. “We have people coming here who are learning how to use our coffee machine, run the cash register, make ice cream sandwiches and work in the kitchen,” Shriver said. “They can do those same jobs at any position anywhere.”

Nye makes ice cream for the store. “My wife always said God had a bigger purpose for this,” Nye said. “We prayed for a year about this and were moved to take our ice cream business and turn it into a non-profit organization.”

The mission of the non-profit organization is to hire people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. “We excluded this population for many years,” Beaver said.

In Florida, 1,345,230 people between the ages of 18 and 64 live with a disability. Currently, 473,940 of them are employed. It’s only 35.2%.

Of those without disabilities in the same age group, almost 75% are employed, according to data from the Annual Disability Compendium.

“Given the past few years of COVID-19 and all the struggles companies have faced, this is truly a great example of how we can see or demonstrate fairness in the workplace,” said Evangeline Hawthorne, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Area Director. office in Tampa.

She said it’s important for companies, like Rise and Nye, to make a conscious effort to employ people with disabilities during a time in the job market when there aren’t enough staff showing up for work. .

“I’ve been an executive chef for the last 25 years in the corporate world in hotels, resorts, and that was my calling. But, I think (the pandemic) has empowered people to really dig deep and find something they’re passionate about. They don’t have to sit behind a desk,” Nye said.

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