Being a good neighbor means more than ever before

Whole Latte Love Cafe, Inc.

To empower the lives of persons with disabilities through education, preparation and employment.

According to the Department of Labor statistics (2019), only 19.3% of persons with a disability were employed. In contrast, the employment rate for persons without a disability was 66.3%. Furthermore, individuals with Medicaid Waivers within the geographic area of Stark County, OH have approximately 90 Medicaid Waiver Providers from which to select for programming; however, only 8% of those providers offer a paid employment option. Whole Latte Love Café’s purpose of providing supported employment in a customer service environment introduces general work skills and allows an individual to discover their hidden talents. This project addresses the needs of our community by offering person-centered guidance through our mentoring program. Every trainee will participate in soft skills training, time and money management, individualized transportation needs, and gain computer skills, as well as on-the-job supports.

With State Farm’s support, $25,000 would allow us to hire six individuals with disabilities, and extend ten hours of weekly paid training supports for an entire year. Supported employment has become a world-wide phenomenon, a true way to help those with disabilities who are unable to successfully gain or retain employment on their own to enter the labor force with dignity and inclusion with others in society. With these dollars, we will be able to address unmet needs by implementing the four steps suggested in the supported employment model:
• The development of a jobseeker profile and assessment,
• A guided interest search,
• On-the-job training, with transferable and marketable job skills and
• Design long-term supports to promote job retention with competitive employment.
We anticipate big changes in the lives of this underserved population, thus increasing outreach to the unemployed and/or the underemployed disabled adults in Stark County.

Extensive research reveals the benefits of hiring people with disabilities, which can also be a resource to improve attitudes among residents of our communities and local employers. The outcome will result in individuals gaining the self-respect of having a job, paying taxes, and building self-esteem. Furthermore, trainees have the opportunity to learn more about their interests, preferences and abilities, while developing stronger aptitudes that can be transferred into a competitive work environment of his / her choosing later in life. This unique social enterprise cafe' in North Canton, Ohio is a natural environment, where the community can gather together. It has the potential of breaking down old barriers, removing the uncertainty and positively recognizing we are all more alike than different.