Aspire Coffee Works aims to create inclusiveness in the workplace

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Aspire and Metropolis Coffee have teamed up to create Aspire Coffee Works to craft coffee and promote inclusion in the workplace for adults with disabilities

Located in Chicago's Avondale neighborhood, Aspire Coffee gives adults with disabilities new opportunities in the workforce.

"We employ adults with disabilities who what a job in the community and who are passionate about coffee. We also have ambassador opportunities, we do a lot of office coffee so we partner with 90 offices across
Chicago and the county. That provides a really fun opportunity for myself and our adults with disabilities to connect with people in the community," said Katie Welge, managing director of Aspire Coffee Works.

Aspire Coffee Works is giving adults with disabilities the chance to take part in a variety of new opportunities.

"I grind this coffee, I grind it and I ship it to people. They buy it from me or the company. Yeah, so I've been here for a while," said Ben Rankin-Parker, of Aspire Coffee Works.

"There are so many job opportunities at a coffee company from everything like labeling, scooping the bags and grinding the coffee. We also partner with 90 offices across Chicago who buy and brew our coffee so there are a lot of neat partnership opportunities. So our team of adults with disabilities will meet with the partners to go to the office and kin of break down those barriers and give the chance for people with and without disabilities a chance to connect," Welge said.

Metropolis Chief Operations Manager Dan Miracle said thinking beyond normal hiring practices opens up life changing opportunities.

"I would say open your mind and consider the possibilities because it can be a really rewarding experience to work with people with disabilities. Then also provide opportunities to people they may not get if you didn't open up to them," Miracle said.

"One in five people in the U.S. has a disability and that's a huge untapped labor pool for a lot of employers. Aspire Coffee Works is not only here to provide people with those job opportunities but to teach others about the importance of inclusion in the workforce and we're doing that through coffee," Welge said.
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