Never miss another interview! Join Devin here: http://bit.ly/joindevin. After about eight cups of coffee, chatting about the idea of creating a company where they could employ people with disabilities, the pair suddenly hit upon the obvious. They started a coffee shop. Aspire Chicago works with about 1,000 differently-abled people. To prove how capable they are of succeeding on the job, they created a coffee shop to employ a few. The project seeks to prove that those with disabilities can be well qualified for the job. Interview with Jim Kales, the CEO of Aspire CoffeeWorks. What is the problem you solve and how do you solve it? Currently, two-thirds of people with developmental disabilities are unemployed. When you combine that with the insufficient funding the state of Illinois provides for employment services for people with developmental disabilities (Illinois’ spending is among the lowest in the nation), the problem is further complicated. Worse yet is that only a small portion of people with developmental disabilities who are employed are actually working in integrated and inclusive workplaces, as opposed to workshops or other types of segregated workplaces. Aspire CoffeeWorks provides employment opportunities for adults with developmental disabilities, currently employing five team members with disabilities. Additionally, through our partnerships with companies like Canteen Vending, our distribution partner, this number is expanded to eight team members with disabilities – and counting. In both of these situations, adults with disabilities work in fully integrated environments, side by side with people without disabilities. Lastly, Aspire CoffeeWorks provides crucial additional funding for nonprofit Aspire’s programming to lift up over 1,000 kids and adults with disabilities at Aspire. It’s our hope that through initiatives like Aspire CoffeeWorks, we can break barriers for adults with disabilities in the workforce and show companies the benefits that come along with a diverse workforce. Check out my free webinar where I share the secrets of successful nonprofit crowdfunding at http://crowdfundingforsocialgood.org.