PITTSTON, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Coffee Inclusive is a Luzerne County coffee shop that is operated by people with diverse abilities, and is an overwhelming success. So much so the business is expanding after receiving rave reviews and positive feedback from the community.
Wednesday afternoon nepa inclusive announced their plans to expand coffee inclusive by adding bake inclusive in the spring of 2024. The nonprofit also received a grant of $22,500 from the Discount Tire Driven to Care Foundation to help do so.
The goal is to raise $150,000.
“Somewhere around 75 to 80 percent of people with these types of disabilities are not employed and we’re showing that they are employable,” said Joleen Lazecki, NEPA Inclusive and Coffee Inclusive vice chairperson.
The president of Nepal Inclusive and Coffee Inclusive says the goal is to provide their employees with a stepping stone to something much bigger.
According to Bartoli, Bake Inclusive will be a natural extension of Coffee Inclusive, employing people with diverse abilities and giving them an opportunity. 14 people with diverse abilities employed at Coffee Inclusive have moved on to other jobs with the skills they’ve learned.
“We think having a first good job opportunity where there’s more training there’s more camaraderie there’s more effort put into making sure you’re successful like then when you move out to another job you have a better base and a better success and more confidence,” Bartoli added.
Bake inclusive will not only give people with diverse abilities the chance at employment but also allow them to learn because it is also a transition school.
“Which is going to help with diverse learning abilities to learn how to roast coffee, baked goods, customer service all those types of fun things. As well as leadership skills, living skills all types of wonderful things coming out of that program,” Lazecki continued.
Micheal MacDonald has worked at Coffee Inclusive for a year and says he could not be happier with his job.
It’s my life. My life’s work, I wouldn’t give anything else, I couldn’t ask for a better job,” said MacDonald.
The new bakery is scheduled to open in March 2024.
Coffee Inclusive says it hopes to serve as a model to other local businesses to show them that people with diverse abilities are just as capable.