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The Bloom Café isn’t just a great environment to stuff yourself full of Breakfast Blooms™ over a steaming cup of joe -- although it is that, too! It’s also an innovative approach to solving one of the greatest barriers to independence for people with disabilities: the significant lack of employment opportunities.

On average, people with disabilities are twice as likely to be unemployed as the general population. They are also twice as likely to live in poverty.

There are many different factors that contribute to these disparities, and Paraquad educates employers to dispel the myths about hiring employees with disabilities. We also help youth identify and accomplish goals related to employment so they can grow up to become independent adults.

Over five decades of working to help people with disabilities get jobs, we have discovered that there is a lack of opportunities to build skills and get that “first job” experience.

That’s where The Bloom Café’s job training program comes in.

The program offers an innovative curriculum designed to help people with disabilities build hands-on experience in food service, including offering ServSafe® certification, and the soft skills required to be successful in any job.

The students participate in an innovative curriculum that is offered each spring, summer and fall. Each session runs Monday through Friday for 12 weeks. At the end of each session, all students will have the option to obtain ServSafe certification through the National Restaurant Association.

From the training program, students will advance to a paid internship in The Bloom Café or with partner employers in the community, where they will hone skills and gain experience before entering the workforce. The Bloom Café’s staff will provide one-on-one, on-the-job training and ongoing support.

Once students complete the internship, they will receive job readiness training, which includes resume writing, interview preparation, financial planning and assistance with the job search.

Paraquad will help each intern find a job that meets his or her interests and skill set. On-the-job support will be available to eligible participants to ensure success.

Our first training session began in June 2018. If you are interested in learning more about future training sessions, contact Chef Joe Wilson at joe@thebloom.cafe.