ALPHARETTA, Ga. — A group of local volunteers, some with children on the autism spectrum, have come together to open the BrewAble coffeehouse to employ individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Under the guidance of Envision Alpharetta, a local non-profit, the group formed BrewAble with a mission to provide employment that will train and integrate the “Brewistas” into the community.
On Sept. 25, the group announced it will be opening in January of 2019 at the Alpharetta Community Center on Roswell Street. Hours will be from 7:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., Monday-Saturday.
The volunteers formed a steering committee last year to solidify and execute the key concepts of the coffeehouse.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports 80 percent of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities are unemployed. In Georgia, an individual no longer receives job support or training assistance at school after the age of 22.
Volunteer Jeanette Dummer said this has been a dream for the group for more than three years.
“I’ve had parents and young people speak about the isolation they experience and the many difficulties that they face in finding employment once a person ages out of the school system at 22,” Dummer said. “Parents and families of children with (intellectual and developmental disabilities) are acutely aware of the poor employment outlook once their children become adults. While some find work with a flexible and supportive employer, many will not. Isolation after high school is a real and debilitating problem in our community.”
Often, people with disabilities are at risk for unemployment or underemployment, according to volunteer Mary Ulich.
“We’re really looking to combat those things,” she said. “At BrewAble, all of the employees will be given the opportunity to train and learn in a cafe environment.”
In addition, the employees will have shifts accommodated to fit their needs.
BrewAble aspires for the employees to become a family by working together and instilling the values of the “seven Cs:” coffee, confidence, communication, cooperation, collaboration, commitment and community. Each value contributes to the supportive setting and celebrates shared success.
While the group may excel at brewing a strong cup of Joe, “Brewing Confidence” is the tagline chosen to represent BrewAble, which Ulich said will help make the community a better place for these individuals.
Downtown Alpharetta was chosen as an ideal location for its walkability and potential to interact with the community.
“We know our community is very open and welcoming, and we’re hoping to work with that,” Ulich said. “Every person has the capacity to contribute when they are part of a supportive work setting. We know each of our employees that have a disability will be able to reach greater heights by working together with the community, so we also plan on brewing community, communication, collaboration, cooperation and commitment to support this project and the individuals who work there.”
For the future, BrewAble will create a business template that can be adopted by other employers who want to incorporate employment for people with intellectual/developmental disabilities.
As a nonprofit, BrewAble will rely on its social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, as well as the community to advertise and promote the business.
For more information, contact Brewablealpharetta@gmail.com.