COVID Delays Job Opportunity for People With Disabilities Coffee Shop Employing People With Disabilities Delays Opening Due to Covid

LIVERPOOL, N.Y. (NCC News) – An Onondaga County non profit  is working on a project to provide employment opportunities to people with disabilities in central New York. The project’s development has been delayed  due to a unique risk  COVID-19 poses to vulnerable organization members.

Advocates Incorporated aimed to open their first coffee shop employing people with disabilities this month. However, the opening date has been pushed back to sometime in 2022.

The coffee shop will provide 20 new positions to fill to people with disabilities and will be located inside the main office building of Advocates incorporated at 290 Elwood Davis Road in Liverpool.

Director of Recruitment Justin Coyne said the coffee shop will foster personal growth within employees and ”provide opportunities of employment to people who struggle to find those chances in their community and to build skills so that they can even grow and take on other opportunities even outside of the coffee shop. ”

Executive Director Amy Dugliss said the shop’s development has been delayed primarily due to the Delta variant. She said the variant caused organization members and their families to take a step back until they feel safe working together.

The Shop aims to connect people with disabilities with the community and “to make sure that everyone sees the value and potential in people we support,” Dougliss said.

Advocates has pushed back opening date to ensure they fulfill their mission of fostering a connection between community members and adults with disabilities, as well as  creating a safe environment for everyone to enjoy at the coffee shop.

“We’re probably just being a little more cautious than the average business in starting this because we do serve people that are medically fragile,” Dugliss said.

Advocates Incorporated is funded by medicaid and is considered an essential organization and employs mentors to provide critical everyday supportive care to people with disabilities.

Coffee Shop manager Shannon Eckler said that while Advocates is primarily focusing on providing those critical services to organization members at this time, they are still making advances toward opening the shop. The organization is currently in the process of conducting interviews and has already filled majority of positions.

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