CINCINNATI — Calling all Cincinnati coffee lovers: There’s a new place to grab a cuppa joe in the Queen City, and in this place, Broadway Joe’s, all the baristas are CPS students getting ready to move into the workforce.
Project Search is a one-year transition-to-work program for students with a range of intellectual and developmental disabilities. The goal of the program is to help the participants make the jump from high school to the adult community successfully by giving them real-world work skills.
“I definitely think this is my favorite because our students came up with the dream or plan to be entrepreneurs, and it’s given them that customer-service experience,” Cincinnati Public Schools Intervention Specialist and Project Search instructor Grant Stanley said of the range of things the students have done.
Hamilton County Juvenile Court, home to the new coffee bar, partnered with the project.
“He was encouraging through Project Search a profound self-esteem and confidence so these children would have a brighter future,” Judge Melissa Powers said.
To start their coffee business, the kids went on a field trip to La Terza to investigate the bean and coffee making. Then came lessons in starting a business.
“They started a soft launch with testing the coffee, passing out test samples to create excitement within the building,” Powers said. “They came up with their own logo, their own name.”
The logo captures the building’s architecture and the name.
“Broadway, ‘cause we’re on Broadway – and we figured out Joe, because, you know – a cup of joe,” CPS and Project Search student Alexis Peppers said.
What’s brewing in each cup of coffee is more than a product – it’s a future for Alexis Peppers and all the other students.
“It will help me in the future if I wanted a job doing customer service – to interact with different people and understand what they like,” Peppers said.
Broadway Joe’s takes suggested donations to cover the cost of running the coffee bar. A small cup of coffee is $1, and $2 for their larger size, but if you want to make a larger donation, that’s okay, too.
They also announced they’re expanding their operations from two to five days a week.