The MaRS and CIBC Inclusive Design Challenge: Access to Work
Zera Café is a not-for-profit social enterprise catering business that has a mission to offer meaningful gainful employment and socialization opportunities to young adults of all abilities. Zera Café’s solution aims to solve the problem that people with neurodevelopmental diversity (NDD) are chronically underemployed and are therefore lacking income, social opportunities, visibility within the community, respite for caregivers, and financial independence, which can have an impact on available housing options. We do this by offering meaningful work that is suited and challenging to the individual in a supportive and accommodating environment. The obvious impact is the job itself and the life skills that Zera Café employees benefit from. The bigger impact is Zera Café’s commitment to developing relationships with other employers in the food industry to more regularly hire people with NDD to work in their businesses. By having their director do it successfully themselves, Zera Café lends credibility and will be able to place some of their employees in other jobs so that the organization can train and support others in their place so that we maximize the impact.
You can learn more about Zera Café by reading the official Challenge Winner’s announcement.