There are more than 700 people in York County who have a disability.
Mary Poole is the Executive Director of MaxAbilities, a non-profit that aims to maximize the abilities of those who have disabilities.
“We know the disabilities, that’s a given,” Poole said. “We need to maximize the abilities they do have.”
She says it is of most benefit to those with disabilities to have a job coach to prepare them for the workforce.
Some of the 700 people in York County have job coaching through Medicaid, but a large number of others are on the waiting list for Medicaid.
“You can’t just push people out the door and expect them to be able to hold a job,” Poole said.
To provide job coaching to those on the waiting list, MaxAbilities opened York Coffee Roastery. It is a nonprofit coffee roastery located on Blackburn Street in York.
“Our main focus is roasting coffee and shipping it to coffee lovers all over the country,” Poole said.
People with special needs are employed their temporarily.
They are tasked with roasting the coffee beans, grinding them and packaging the product for shipment. While they are learning to roast, Poole says it’s not about the coffee.
“It’s for learning to listen to your boss when they say you did something incorrectly, for remembering all the safety rules in the workplace,” Poole said. “That’s the kind of stuff we’re trying to teach. It’s not just about roasting coffee, it’s so much more.”
After the employees learn the soft skills at the roastery, a job coach will help them land a job in the community.
The coffee shop has computer stations for employees to build their resumes, with a job coach’s supervision.
Employees are just starting to learn how to roast and package the coffee grounds. They are fulfilling a little over two dozen orders to start, but need more to continue growing their skills.
The coffee grounds come in four different blends and can be ordered in various sizes.
“We do hope that business, churches and real estate companies will want to have a bag of coffee to welcome you to the community, and people who are having their weddings. We have small for a wedding favor-sized bags,” Poole said.
If you are interested in purchasing coffee, visit the roastery’s website here.
Poole says they are still looking to hire job coaches. You can find more information here.