DORS-Starbucks Inclusion Academy a SUCCESS!

A group at a table; front of a Starbucks; two women talking; man holding up a coffee bag; a Starbucks cup; two men talking.

DORS' Workforce & Technology Center (WTC) recently partnered with Starbucks and the
Community College of Baltimore County (CCBC) on our first Starbucks Inclusion Academy.
Five DORS' consumers graduated in May and three have been HIRED by Starbucks to work in Annapolis, Baltimore City and Towson. A fourth consumer was hired by Einstein Bagels, and the fifth consumer is interviewing at Starbucks and other businesses and expects to be employed soon.
 
The Academy kicked off on April 11th when Starbucks District Manager Aaron Thompson visited the first class and conducted a coffee tasting. The students had many questions for Aaron about "a typical day at a store". Aaron also talked about Starbucks' commitment to diversity in creating the Retail Inclusion Program: "We asked ourselves about our role and responsibility as a for-profit company and decided to make decisions that are not only good for shareholders, but are also good for the communities we serve."
 
CCBC instructor Kristen Catching took over from there and worked with the students for the next six weeks using the Department of Labor's Skills to Pay the Bills curriculum which she modified to fit with Starbucks' training model.
 
During their six weeks in the Academy the students worked with the curriculum, listened to guest speakers, worked on their resumes, participated in professional networking events, and went to the Starbucks' training store in East Baltimore.
 
The Academy finished up in May and the students attended WTC graduation on June 29, 2017. Starbucks Store Manager Nelly Hamer was the graduation guest speaker (see photo below). Nelly's store employs a former DORS consumer, Naeem Raza, who is deaf (see photo below). Nelly talked about considering Naeem for employment: "I asked myself, why hire Naeem? And I thought, because it's my RESPONSIBILITY to create an environment [in the cafe] that is welcoming and inclusive." She encouraged the graduates to "never give up!"
 
Graduate and now employee Jasmine Brown said of the Academy experience: "I learned how to focus, deal with stress, and notice my weaknesses and strengths." Graduate and now Starbucks Barista Keith Stewart agrees that its been a positive learning opportunity: "Everyone helped me out...it made me think more positively of myself and showed me I can do things that others said I can't do. It's been kind of awesome!"
Former consumer Naeem Raza at the Starbucks cafe where he works.Starbucks Townson manager Nelly Hamer speaking at WTC graduation.